Marlene Kathryn Bennion of Billings, Montana, died Nov. 11, 2018, at Hospice House of Laramie. She was 85.
She was born Marlene Barnhart May 11, 1933, to Harold and Rose Barnhart, in Seattle Washington. She had one younger brother, Ben Barnhart, who she grew up with.
As a child they moved quite a few times all over Washington and then in 1942, the family moved to Broadview, Montana, where they helped her uncle care for a wheat farm. They called the house they lived in the “Bittle Place” after the family that homesteaded there years ago. It had a huge wrap-around porch and a view of waving wheat fields every direction you looked.
This is the home where Marlene, as a young girl, would wrap herself in a flowing white sheet and walk out to the porch to sing to the wheat like she was walking on the stage of a theater. Singing was her lifetime love and goal. She loved Sunday afternoons when she, along with her brother and parents, would ride around the dirt country roads singing to the radio. This was her most happy of memories.
They moved back to Spokane, Washington, when she was in high school and although her family continued to move, she begged to stay in Spokane so she could graduate high school. It was here that Marlene attended a Lutheran church one Sunday, where she was asked to sing a special.
The pastor told Marlene of the love that God has for her. After the service, the pastor came over to visit with her. She knelt and accepted Jesus as her Savior and was given a little red Gideon New Testament.
Her family then moved to Billings, Montana, after Marlene’s graduation from high school and she began attending college there. This is where she met her husband, Thomas Bennion, and they were married Dec. 24, 1953. It was the only day they both could get off from work.
Tom and Marlene moved their family to Powell in 1970, where Tom worked as the manager at Linton’s Big R for Bud Linton.
All three of their kids: Christine, Andrea, and Barrett Bennion, graduated from Powell High School. Tom and Marlene returned to Billings in 1988 to live with and care for his mother, Jeanette Bennion.
Tom passed on to be with the Lord in June 2016.
Marlene then moved into Springwind Assisted Living in Laramie in March 2017 to be closer to daughter Andrea.
From there she moved into the Hospice House on Oct. 17, 2018. She enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. The cows grazing in the field across the street made her feel at home.
Marlene made friends wherever she went, and tested all the boundaries.
She was truly a kind, fun-loving and pleasant person. Marlene will be greatly missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents Harold and Rose Barnhart of Billings, Montana; her twin older infant siblings, Don and Donna; and husband Thomas Bennion of Billings.
She is survived by her brother, Benton Barnhart and wife (Merridy), of Casa Grande, Arizona; two daughters, Christine Milbourn (Donny) and Andrea Grosinger (Matthew) and son Barry Bennion (Melodie); 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a dual inurnment with Tom in Billings, Montana, in June 2019. For those that would like more information about the inurnment or to send condolences, please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.