Marilyn L. Blank peacefully passed away on Thursday afternoon, November 7, 2019 at her residence in Stow, Ohio after a long and full life. She was preceded in death by her husband, William F. Blank, Sr (Bill) after 70 years of marriage.
Marilyn was born on July 22, 1923 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Louis and Jeanette Sefferien. She was the middle of three daughters, her sisters, Jeanne and Geraldine, preceded her in death. She is survived by three sons, Dr. William F. Blank, Jr. (Chris) of Chaffee, Mo, Dr. Richard G. Blank (Laurie) of Grafton, WI, and Dr. James L. Blank (Anne) of Kent, OH. She is further survived by 4 grandsons (William Frederick III, David, Jonathon, and Christopher), and 6 great grandsons and granddaughters (Randi, Clayton, Jason, Jenna, Ria, and William Frederick, IV). Also, she is survived by Kathy and Kent Bell, a multitude of friends, many of whom live near or in Decatur, Illinois.
Marilyn grew up in and around New York and New York City in the backdrop of the history of the 1920s and 30s. Stories of her early life focused on The Great Depression, family and friends with some friends remaining in life long contact. One memorable story was when as a young girl she met and presented flowers to Eleanor Roosevelt and another of seeing a young Frank Sinatra sing at Radio City Hall, a singer that she enjoyed her entire life She met her future husband, Bill, when she only 16, and it took him persistence and three more years to convince her to marry him. On December 5, 1942 they were wed in New York City. Marilyn was a World War II bride and raised her firstborn son, William F. Blank, Jr., until Bill returned from the War in 1945.
The young Blank family moved to South Bend, Indiana following Bill's career and lived there from 1946-51. During this time, her second son, Richard, was born. As a member of the US Naval Reserves, Bill was recalled to service in 1951 in support of the Korean War effort. His orders landed Marilyn, their 2 sons, and him in Decatur, Illinois in 1951. By the mid-1950s her family had grown to 3 sons when James was born in 1954. The move to Central Illinois was the beginning of her families’ life in Decatur for the next 60 years. Later in life Marilyn and Bill were able to travel several times to Europe visiting England in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, and France and Germany, all with family included. Often, they spent portions of the winter at Hilton Head, South Carolina, usually with family joining them too. At 90 years young, Marilyn and Bill moved to Stow OH to be close to the loving care of family (James, Anne, Jonathon, Christopher) and to take advantage of care facilities in the community.
Marilyn was proud of her career as wife, mother, home maker, and friend, and was the center of the life for her husband, children and grandchildren. For family she was loving and nurturing and a fierce advocate whenever conditions required it. As a friend Marilyn was loyal, generous, and constant. As a person she was strong, independent, opinionated, social and loved being around young people. For those who knew her well she had a good singing voice, liked to dance regardless of who was watching, and continued to favor Frank Sinatra.
Marilyn was a supportive partner in Bill’s company, Blank, Wesselink, Cook & Associates. She and Bill both believed in giving back to their community. She served with charitable work at Decatur Memorial hospital, and was a committed supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Wounded Veterans of Foreign Wars. Church was a constant part of her and Bill’s lives, and they were members of Central Christian Church where she and Bill served in the Stephen’s Ministry.
The family is thankful for all the kind words, memories and condolences, and suggests memorial gifts be made to the Decatur Memorial Foundation (www.dmhcares.org/services/foundation). Our family thrived in Decatur, Illinois and despite our movements to locations across the country, Decatur is where Marilyn’s heart was focused, and where we all remember our love of a strong family life. Memorial services will be held for family in Kent OH.
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