Marlene Helen Wirsing

Marlene Helen Nelson, child of God, passed quietly Dec. 3, surrounded by family.


She was born Feb. 24, 1936, to Helen M. Nelson and Ben F. Nelson during an epic snowstorm in Everett, WA. The family moved to Tacoma in 1942.


Marlene attended Jefferson Elementary and Mason Junior High School and graduated from Stadium High School 1953. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound (CPS) in 1957 and later earned a master of education there. Her master’s thesis about Mason Junior High is a resource used to this day.


At CPS she participated in Model United Nations and intercollegiate debate. She was a member of Mortar Board scholastic honorary, Pi Lambda Theta education honorary, and Pi Kappa Delta forensics honorary.
After graduation she taught at Puyallup Junior High and then at Mason Junior High. While teaching she did graduate work at the University of Washington, Western Washington University, and Pacific Lutheran University.


She was married to Dale R. Wirsing at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Aug. 12, 1967. They moved to Fircrest in 1970. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at Emmanuel in August.


Marlene took pride in her Norwegian heritage and had been a member of Sons of Norway – Norden Lodge since 1977. Other memberships included Alpha Delta Kappa education sorority, Administrative Women in Education, American Association of University Women, Historic Fort Steilacoom and the Tacoma and Washington State historical societies. She was vice president of Tacoma Association of Classroom Teachers in 1964-65. She was a longtime  volunteer at the Little White Church of Elbe.


She was a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church for some 70 years.  Her service to Emmanuel included teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school, developing confirmation materials and an active role in adult education, including the Lay School of Theology. She was on the organizing committee for Emmanuel’s 75-year celebration in 1988.


She was a lifelong reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles, collecting stamps, bridge with friends, baseball, and travel, especially to museums and historic sites. She worked for many years as an election poll worker.


Left to mourn are her husband; son, Eric Wirsing (Dawna) of Tacoma; daughter, Drea Lyon (David A.) of Renton; stepson, Paul Mikel Wirsing (Paola Maranan) of Seattle; and four grandchildren – Natalia and Nathan Lyon of Renton; Lex Wirsing of Tacoma; and Tyra (TK) Maranan-Wirsing of Seattle; niece, Shelley Wolff of Spokane.


Family committal service at New Tacoma Cemetery took place Dec. 12. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at  Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1315 N. Stevens St., Tacoma. Memorials to the church are suggested.