Cover photo for Marlene Ellen Bartlett's Obituary
Marlene Ellen Bartlett Profile Photo
1933 Marlene 2019

Marlene Ellen Bartlett

November 29, 1933 — July 14, 2019

Marlene E. Bartlett, 85, of Rockwell, died on Sunday, July 14, 2019, at the IOOF Home.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 419 North Delaware, Mason City.

Visitation will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 19, 2019, at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N Pennsylvania Ave.

Interment will be held in Mt. Vernon Township Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to the family of Marlene Bartlett.

Marlene Bartlett was born on November 29, 1933 and raised in Sumner, Iowa. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the teachers training college at University of Northern Iowa and later received her Master’s in Education at the University of Iowa. Marlene was a successful primary school teacherin Iowa and Minnesota for over 10 years before taking a job as an education consultant in Cleveland, Ohio for a year. She returned to Iowa to marry Robert A. Bartlett (Bob), joining him and his three young children Denise, Kathy and Mike on a farm near Clear Lake, Iowa. They had been introduced in the ‘summer of love” in 1969, and married the following year on October 31, 1970. In 1971 they moved to the family “century farm” near Burchinal, Iowa following a remodeling by Marlene and Bob to make it the start of a new home for the family. They were joyfully married for over 48 years experiencing life together at its fullest.

Once married, Marlene turned her attention, love and considerable array of skills to working with Bob on the farm, raising their three children and becoming an active volunteer and leader in the community. Over the many decades, she was an active and dedicated volunteer and leader for her church Bethlehem Lutheran, the OWESO club, 4-H (at local, state and national levels), the MacNider and Kinney Pioneer museums, Music Man Square, American Field Service, Central Gardens, Lioness Club, and the Rockwell nursing home. She earned her “master gardener” certificate alongside Bob and worked with him to create their extensive gardens on the farm, for which they hosted many tour groups over the years. She served on different boards including the Cerro Gordo county Fair Board of Trustees, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 4-H and the Farm Service Agency. Marlene continued her work as an educator by volunteering in local pre-school and primary school classrooms, teaching Sunday school and was hired to assist with a national research study that tracked children from kindergarten into primaryschool.

She and Bob enjoyed traveling whether to visit family and friends or go with educational groups to attend meetings in Hawaii, Europe and various locations around the USA. Perhaps one of her most beloved and well-known activities was as the “Hat Lady.” Following an initial “hat show” for her daughter Denise’s school club, she began to get requests and travelled all around Iowa and beyond for years. She gave inspirational shows to church groups, women’s clubs, schools and others using her very large collection of hats and “Bartlett” pears as props during her speaking programs. Her programs reflected her focus on life – faith, family and friends. She was a beloved, magical grandmother and great grandmother creating adventures and experiences on the farm for them all. She remained a “kid at heart” and an inspiration to those who knew her throughout her life, particularly for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Marlene will be deeply missed by her loving husband, Robert Bartlett; their three children and families including Denise Bartlett Garth and Greg Garth of Omaha, NE and family (Joshua and his wife Alyssa Garth and their children Finnian and Teagan Garth of Omaha, NE and Jasmine Garth of Colorado Springs, CO), Kathy Bartlett and Tom Barrett of Denver, CO and their family (Greg Barrett, Jenny and Morgan Kemp and their children Landin, Montgomery and Penelope, Matt Barrett and Mark Brewster all of Denver, CO), and Mike and Maren Bartlett of Clear Lake, IA and their family (Zachary and his wife Erin Bartlett of Madison, WI and Hannah Bartlett and Josiah Bartlett of Clear Lake, IA) and her two nephews Mark and Paul Hoffmeier, sons of her only sister and their families of Los Angeles, CA as well as other relatives across Minnesota and Iowa.

Marlene was preceded in death by her parents, Frederick and Lenora Sell; her sister and brother in-law, Mary and Del Hoffmeier; and her mother-in-law, Thelma Bartlett.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Marlene Ellen Bartlett, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, July 19, 2019

4:30 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

419 N. Delaware, Mason City, IA 50401

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