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. www.northfieldfuneral.com