Marlene was born in Bryan, Ohio, to Harold and Carmen (Rollins) Brenner, both deceased. She graduated from Bryan High School with the class of 1955, along with her high school sweetheart, Duane Fox. Marlene played the clarinet in the high school band and enjoyed many school dances with her sweetheart. Duane and Marlene were married 65 years, having wed November 3, 1956; Duane survives her. Duane and Marlene have two children: Julie and Jon(Sue). Jon and Sue blessed Nana and Papaw with two grandsons, Ryan, and Spencer. Marlene also has a sister Marcia (Earles) Schmucker, a brother-in-law Richard (Dee) Fox, nephews Tim (Vicki) Schmucker, Todd (Stephanie) Schmucker, Rich (Denise) Fox, Doug (Kim) Fox, and special caregiver Lisa Howell.
Marlene worked at ARO Corporation of Bryan during and after high school as a receptionist and executive secretary. Marlene took a break from the business world to enjoy the early years with her children. After her children were in school, she worked for 10 years plus at the Citizens National Bank of Bryan, starting as a teller and retiring as an assistant branch manager.
Marlene enjoyed gardening, cooking, music, sewing and the Florida sunshine. Marlene loved all flowers with roses being her favorite. On sunny afternoons she could be found enjoying her garden or sharing her love of flowers as well as their care with her children. She wanted her children to know a weed from a vegetable plant as well as how to prune flowers. When Marlene was in the kitchen, there was at least one child or grandchild at her elbow learning how to cook a favorite meal or dessert as well as when to taste-test and lick the spoon.
Marlene and Duane enjoyed music to its fullest and imparted their love of music to their children and grandchildren. Whether it was a summer band concert on the square, a musical, a symphony orchestra concert, or a music concert their children or grandchildren were participating in, Marlene and Duane would be in the audience taping time with the music. Marlene’s love of music was not deterred even when her children brought home many new and surprising instruments to learn. There were no sour notes, only a note not played correctly. “That doesn’t sound right, try it again” would often be heard during practice times. While in St. Petersburg, Marlene and Duane would attend the Thursday evening music and dance on the island as Marlene loved to dance. Saturday evening Florida Symphony Orchestra Concerts were also a delight at the end of a busy week. Alzheimer’s did not rob Marlene’s joy of music. Nana enjoyed the music each guest musician shared during afternoon music and sing along time. To the surprise of staff and musicians, Nana and Lisa knew the words to all of the songs! When the music started, Marlene would smile that big smile of hers and join in the singing.
Marlene found her joy of sewing during her high school years with poodle skirts or school dances and business outfits for work. She enjoyed spending time in her sewing room, creating and altering patterns for the outfits she could foresee in her chosen materials. Marlene had a keen eye for colors as well as fabric texture combinations. Her ability to see the finished project while selecting fabrics and accessories was an art that she used for clothing designs as well as interior decorating. Over many family holidays, you would find Nana and any number of family members in the sewing room working on day projects she had designed to teach and inspire. Nana also had a flair for designing costumes, from a full fox outfit for her son’s Light Shine Singers concerts to a Benjamin Franklin outfit for her grandson’s school skit. Marlene also pursued her love for sewing and creative sewing design by teaching sewing arts in the Bryan, fort Wayne and Saint Petersburg areas. Marlene’s creative designs and teachings lead to a copyright for fabricating a “Cut Jacket” design.
The Florida sunshine drew Marlene and Duane to Isla Del Sol. After retiring, Marlene and Duane spent much time in the warmth of the Florida sunshine. Whether enjoying the pool or relaxing on a lounge in the sunshine, Marlene would encourage the imagination of her family by asking “What do you see in the clouds?” This became a favorite family quiet time activity with Nana. Marlene enjoyed the warmth of the sun even while at Ivy Ridge with many afternoons spent in one of the court yards visiting with family and Lisa.
Marlene requested her remains be gifted to Alzheimer’s research and eventually cremated. A celebration of life will be held later in Saint Petersburg, Florida. A subsequent graveside service will occur at Shiffler Cemetery in Pulaski (Near Bryan), Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to: Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, 3050 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL. 33712, or Suncoast Hospice, 3152 Little Road, Suite 146, Trinity, Florida 34655.