Marilyn Jeanne Bertsch, age 88 of Yankton, SD passed away early Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at Avera Sister James Care Center, Yankton, SD.

Memorial services will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, September 9, 2019 at the United Church of Christ (Congregational), 5th & Walnut, Yankton, SD with Rev. Kenn Leischner officiating. Private family committal services will be in the Garden of Memories, Yankton, SD.

Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.

The Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home & Onsite Crematory, Yankton, SD is assisting with the service details. Online condolences may be sent at:

Marilyn was born on the family farm near Viborg, SD on June 3, 1931 to Harry and Ernie (Hansen) Christensen. She attended country school and later graduated from Viborg High School in 1949 and Yankton College in 1953. She married her college sweetheart, Elton Bertsch, the day before graduation on May 31, 1953. They moved to Boston, Massachusetts where Elton attended Andover Newton. Following graduation from there, they returned to Yankton where they remained all their married life.

Marilyn was an active member of the UCC Church and served on boards at both the local and conference level for many years. Marilyn volunteered at her church with the women’s group, delivered Meals on Wheels, and served on the funeral committee. She and Elton were instrumental in starting the local Parkinson’s Support Group and were involved at the state level as well, organizing the Parkinson’s Walk-a-thon held in Sioux Falls for many years.

Marilyn and Elton enjoyed traveling and loved to take the scenic route just to see what they might find. She was a loyal supporter of her grandchildren’s activities, be it sports or dance, and loved spending time with them. After Elton’s passing in 2008, she and her daughter attended many plays and concerts together. She will be most remembered for her unconditional love of her family and her sense of humor, as well as her love of fudge and ice cream.

Marilyn is survived by her two children, Brian (Linda) of Hopkinsville, KY and Sherry Rockne of Yankton, SD; her grandchildren: Aaron (Sophie Kurth) Bertsch and Nathan Bertsch, both of Madison, WI, Jason Rockne of Yankton, SD and Laura (Nathan) Hancock of Sioux Falls, SD; three great-grandsons: Noah, Isaiah, and Henry Hancock of Sioux Falls, SD; one brother, Jack (Barbara) Christensen of Viborg, SD; sisters-in-law, Darlene Knecht of Yankton, SD, Lucy Kuhn of Camino, CA, Pauli McCarthy of Gering, NE, brother-in-law, Ken (Marsha) Bertsch of Yankton, SD; special friend, Dwight Snesrud of Lincoln, NE, as well as nieces and nephews.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, Elton; her parents; her in-laws; her son-in-law, Mike Rockne, and brother-in-law, Jonathan Knecht.

The family requests memorials be directed to the UCC Building Fund, the J. Laiten Weed Fund (music programs) both sent to United Church of Christ, 104 W 3rd St., Yankton, SD 57078 or SD Parkinson Foundation, 1000 N. West Avenue, Suite 220, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

Yankton Press & Dakotan

September 7, 2019