Marilyn Haugen

Marilyn Haugen

  • Funeral Date: 3/11/14
  • Funeral Time: 11:00 AM
  • Date of Birth: 7/05/26
  • Date of Death: 2/23/14
  • Funeral Location: St. John's Lutheran Church - Northfield

Marilyn Swanson Haugen
Marilyn was born in Minneapolis on July 5, 1926 to Carl “Cully” and Dorothy “Dot” (Olney) Swanson. She graduated from Hopkins High in 1944. She recieved her Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College in 1948 and also completed a minor in Physical Education. During her freshman year she played percussion in the St. Olaf Band. The other three years, she sang in the St. Olaf Choir. After graduation, she taught music for grades 1-12 in Milaca. She was so pleased with her HS choir who received an “A” at the MN State Music Contest at the University of MN. The choir performed one of Marilyn’s favorite pieces – “Light Everlasting” by Olaf Christiansen, her former choir director.
Marilyn returned to St. Olaf to teach P.E. – ice skating, skiing, dance, and tennis. There, she met Ralph Haugen who was teaching and directing in the Theatre Department. Ralph and Marilyn were married in 1955 and were blessed with three children. Marilyn held various jobs while raising her family: Organist & choir director at St. Peters Lutheran and Congregational churches; Assistant in St. Olaf’s Oslo Summer School office and in the Music Library; Reviewer of choral music manuscripts submitted for publication at Augsburg Publishing House.
In the 1960’s, Marilyn, Myrna Johnson, and other local mothers formed the “Third Thursday Therapy” group, a welcome social outlet for the neighborhood stay-at-home moms. Marilyn, Myrna and others from this group joined a few more singers to form “The Music Makers”, a 12-woman vocal group, which performed at community and church events, but which also met just for fun, singing, and friendship. The group was active for more than 30 years.
In 1976, Marilyn and the kids accompanied Ralph as he led the five-month long Global Semester program. The students who were on the Global trip became Marilyn and Ralph’s extended family. They were dearly loved by the Haugens and stayed in close contact throughout the 38 years since the trip.
Marilyn’s faith was very important to her. She was an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, singing in the choir and working on various committees. She was also active in the Northfield community.
Marilyn & Ralph enjoyed travelling within the U.S. and abroad, leading or participating in study travel trips and Elderhostels. They also enjoyed many special times with their grandchildren.
Marilyn is survived by her three children: Barry Haugen of St. Paul, Nancy and Brian Gaffey of Lynbrook, New York, Daniel Haugen of Northfield; 4 grandchildren: Connor, Brendan, Thatcher and Annabelle; her brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Judy Swanson of Northfield; 2 former daughters-in-law, Sarah Haugen and Heather Ann Holley; her sister-in-law, Helen White of Federal Way, Washington; several nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Ralph and her parents.
Marilyn passed away Sunday evening, February 23, 2014, at the Northfield Hospital Long Term Care Center, at the age of 87.
Services will be 11:00AM, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield with Rev. John Quam officiating. Music will be provided by John Ferguson.  Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield. Visitation will be at the church one hour prior to the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Ralph & Marilyn Haugen Endowed Scholarship at St. Olaf College, The Carl R. (Cully) & Dorothy (Dot) Swanson Endowed Scholarship at St. Olaf College, Bread for the World or St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.


  1. Sigrid Ostrem

    Sending you sympathy, asking God to wrap you in His peace, comfort
    and love. And to give you the wonderful gift of rich memories of Marilyn,
    Ralph, and your parents.
    It was always a joy to see Marilyn at Choir Reunion times. Your family, Steve,
    holds a special place in my heart, all of you part of the blessings of growing up in Northfield. With love,

  2. Kristi Kresslein

    Dear Nancy, Danny, Barry and your families,
    I was so sad to hear of your mom’s passing! I know you have wonderful memories of your mom. My memories are of a kind, gentle woman who I have always admired for being so strong and independent! These days will go by and there are lots of things that will bring the memory of her into your heart!….I pray that all your memories bring you great joy and that you all find peace in knowing she is finally home with Ralph! Your folks were 2 of my favorite people from growing up in Northfield!…much love, Kristi

  3. Julie Olson

    Dear Nancy, Barry, and Danny,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I have nothing but good memories of your mother. She was always so kind and thoughtful. I think I still have her last letter to me that had a picture included from one of our Northfield Global get togethers. My prayers and thoughts are with you all. Sincerely, Julie Olson

  4. john madson

    dan, barry and nancy: your mom was always so kind to me. she always greeted me from the rear pew each time i was visiting my folks and worshipping at st.john’s church. she remembered me as dan’s class mate. glory to god that she is now reunited with ralph in god’s eternal kingdom and will be reunited with the 3 of you along with fellow believers in christ. god bless! john madson

  5. Kathy and Pat Quade

    Barry, Nancy, Dan, and Steve;
    We were deeply sadended to hear about the loss of your Mom and Sister. Marilyn was a big part of our lives throughout our time in Northfield . . and we will indeed miss her. She (and Ralph) provided us with all the encouragement and support we could hope for when we first came to Northfield and throughout the growth of our family and careers. We will miss her. God bless Marilyn’s soul and all of you! Love, Kathy and Pat

  6. bruce Hermansen

    To us global folks Marilyn was ever a gracious and smiling mom. Supportive to all of us. Sometimes surprised by our goofiness but always rolling with the craziness and ever kind. She nurtured us on our trip, especially when needed. Her love of music shown through and made our journey brighter.
    Now she is with Ralph and singing in Jesus’ choir. Her smile and joy will always be with me. Prayers for peace, and sustenance through the good memories for Barry, Nancy and Dan. She and Ralph blessed us with opening the world to us. Through God’s love Bruce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.