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Open Visitation Without Family Present

Wednesday May 13th, 2020
12:00pm - 8:00pm

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Thursday May 14th, 2020

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Funeral Service

Thursday May 14th, 2020

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Marilyn Schafer

The service at the church is open to public attendance. Those in attendance will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

Marilyn Joy (Walker) Schafer, 72 of Mount Ayr, IA passed away at Clearview Home in Mount Ayr, IA on May 10, 2020. Marilyn was born on February 16, 1948 in Quanah, TX to Benjamin and Vera Maye (Stone) Walker. She grew up in Childress, TX.

Marilyn graduated from Childress High School in 1966. She was a barrel racer in high school. She attended Harding Simmons Baptist College in Abilene, TX and was a member of the White Horse Riders with the college cowboy band. Marilyn enjoyed sharing the story of being the backdrop of a photo of John Wayne during the debut of the movie “War Wagon” in Dallas, TX.

Marilyn’s mother passed away in 1968. Her father married Dorothy Copeland in 1972 and she gained a stepbrother, Jim Copeland.

She later attended Sam Houston State in Huntsville, TX. This is where she met her husband, John Arthur Schafer. They were married January 9, 1971 in Huntsville, TX at St. Thomas Catholic Church. Their first of three sons, Ron Douglas was born on August 28, 1971. Marilyn graduated with her a secondary education degree in physical education in 1972. The following year, Bryan Lee was born on December 22, 1973.

Marilyn worked at a Girl Scout Camp in Texas where she guided and tended to the children of NASA astronauts in early 70s.

Marilyn and her family moved to Mount Ayr, IA in 1975 where she stayed at home until after Joe Don was born on June 22, 1981. She joined the staff at Mount Ayr Community School in 1986. There, she could be found assisting teachers and staff as a crossing guard, making copies, taking lunch tickets and the most memorable by many, as recess duty.  Marilyn was known for her “underdog” pushes on the swings with all the kids.

Marilyn supported her children in all that they were involved in. She was the president of the Mount Ay Community Band Boosters for years and chaperoned an unending number of band trips and contests. She was also a Cub Scout leader. As a member of the First Baptist Church (now United Baptist-Presbyterian Church) in Mount Ayr, she was an example of Christ in everything she did. Marilyn participated in Sunday school, TEK and Vacation Bible School. She loved transporting the elder church members to community sings on Sunday nights in southwest Iowa. She attended as many Gaither musical shows as she was able. She had a love for gospel and country music.

Marilyn could be seen riding her bike to school everyday as the weather allowed. She loved going on long walks with her little lap dog (which she took everywhere) while John was 10 steps behind. Nothing slowed her down until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Marilyn loved cooking, but if someone mentioned going out to eat, she’d be the first to agree and headed to the car. It was routine for Marilyn to sit down after a long day and work on some cross-stitching. She made a baby blanket for each of her five granddaughters. A gift they will all treasure forever. She also made several for the nieces and nephews and even the great nieces and nephews until the disease took her ability to stitch.

She went camping as a child every year to South Fork, CO with her family. She developed a great love for the mountains and nature that she instilled in her children and grandchildren. They continued the trips to Colorado over the years. Marilyn enjoyed fishing and would bait everyone’s hook. Marilyn always looked forward to the trips home to Texas to visit family and old friends. She never knew a stranger.

Preceding her death were her parents, stepmother and brother-in-law, Ed Schafer.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband John Schafer, three sons Ron of Mount Ayr, IA Bryan (Jennifer) of Altoona, IA, and Joe Don (Amanda Chalupa) of West Des Moines, IA; and Elizabeth (Loutsch) Schafer; five granddaughters, Abbey Rose, Elsie Mae and Emmalee Elizabeth Schafer of Mount Ayr, IA and Allison Grace and Hannah Rae Schafer of Altoona; two brothers, Ben (Lana) Walker of Cottage Groves, OR and Jim (Kay) Copeland, of Anton, TX; three nephews Ben Rob (Kristin) Walker of Creswell, OR, Carl Wade (Lisa) Walker of Edmond, OK and Aaron Kyle (Jessica) Walker of Birmingham, AL; and great nieces and nephews, Lindsey Brook (Tristin) Fuller, Benjamin Cayle Walker, Cade Garrett Walker, Cody Brice Walker, Hudson Kyle Walker, Clara Tate Walker and Titus Owen Walker; in-laws, Roberta (Robert) Brown of Polk City, IA, Karla Schafer of Corning, IA and Ron (Patty) Schafer of Massena, IA and many more nieces and nephews.

Memorials are to Clearview Home; Ringgold County Supportive Services; Ringgold County Group Home.


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Schafer, please visit our flower store.


Our thoughts are with you as you adjust to the life without Marilyn. We remember her most as Joe Don's mom and later as "Grandma Marilyn". If you wanted to keep up with her you better have rested up and taken plenty of vitamins! She pitched in on every project and was great to do anything asked of her. Her Southern drawl was easy and fun to listen as she told her stories.

Jim & Joy May 19 2020 12:00 AM

A package of kindness went back to heaven Sunday night. Marilyn always had that wonderful gift of making a person feel warm inside and she always made me smile with her gentle laughter. There will be an empty spot in our lives with her absence but she will never be very far away in our memories.She was and is a blessing to everyone who knew her

Rick Hawkins May 13 2020 12:00 AM

We enjoyed Marilyn. She loved life. We look forward to seeing her alive again in the resurrection. Jesus promised, "Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life." John 5:28, 29

Jim & Donna Adams May 13 2020 12:00 AM

I worked with Marilyn at school when she was so active in Band Boosters. She was organized and on top of everything that needed to be done. I always loved hearing her talk because she never totally lost her southern accent. May the memories of good times bring you comfort and may the Lord give you peace.

Donna Shields May 13 2020 12:00 AM

What does one write when an Angel goes home? This world is diminished. We are further impoverished without her example.

Marilyn exemplified the true Texas woman. Strong faith. Fearless determination. All in a joyful, humble, genuine and beautiful personality.

After all, her middle name was Joy. Uncle Ben and Aunt Vera put a lot of good stuff in both of their kids. Marilyn was my sweetest cousin.

David Walker May 13 2020 12:00 AM

Marilyn was a kind woman with a servants heart to help. I remember Marilyn & my mom working together serving meals after funerals at the baptist church. They knew how to put a great meal together. Thoughts & prayers to her family in their loss.

Diane weehler May 12 2020 12:00 AM

Such a beautiful obituary- I had such wonderful memories of Marilyn as I read it. She was indeed a special lady who was always so sweet and kind to Jim and me. We count it a great blessing to have been a part of her family. We miss being there.
Sending Love and Prayers to all
Jim and Kay Copeland

Jim and Kay Copeland May 12 2020 12:00 AM

Marilyn and I graduated together; she was always such a sweet soul, friendly with kindness towards everyone. Prayers for her loved ones.

Arbret Sue Yager May 12 2020 12:00 AM

Marilyn's cross-stitched baby blankets are even more treasured now. To have an aunt like her was a true gift. She gave so much to those she loved. Her smile will never be forgotten.

Julie Brown May 12 2020 12:00 AM

So very sorry for your families loss. Marilyn was the sweetest lady. I remember working with her the year I worked
at the school, she was so helpful and a very caring person. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Kelly Roberts

kyrobert@windstream.net May 11 2020 12:00 AM

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