PORTLAND, Ore. / MADISON - Marilyn Louise Cone, age 88, died of congestive heart failure on April 30, 2016, at Laurelhurst Village nursing home in Portland, Ore. She was the daughter of Charles Aubrey and Vivian Mary (Johnson) Cone. Born June 2, 1927, in Troy, Mont., Marilyn entered the University of Washington at age 16 majoring in Radio and Theatre. Marrying at age 19, and with a spirit for adventure, Marilyn started a family in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1949. Teaching English in the Anchorage schools and then working in local radio, Marilyn won a national Pillsbury recipe contest which carried her to New York City. Later, Marilyn moved to Colorado to enter the graduate program in Educational Psychology and continued her coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked as a licensed School Psychologist in the CESA 2 school district, Wisconsin, and the Portland Public Schools. She retired at age 70.
After her children and family, her second love was music. An avid pianist, Marilyn began her studies at age seven and with a brief interlude following marriage and career, returned to her beloved piano late in life to study with friend and teacher Dora Haslett. Participating in piano recitals into her 80's, Marilyn loved the great classics, popular tunes of her era, and Broadway melodies. She treasured her Monday evening tickets to the Oregon Symphony and shared her passion for plays and concerts with her friends, children and grandchildren. A killer Scrabble player, Marilyn never missed her weekly games with Nancy Donner, Tom and Patrick. A lover of dogs, nothing brought a quicker smile than a wagging tail. Her passion for the life of the mind led her to become a prolific reader of literature and history. She wrote much on life in Montana in the 1930s, the great trains of the Northwest and heart throb Clark Cable. Valuing education above all else, she instilled in her children and grandchildren to reach far and strive for a better life.
She developed in early life a fighting spirit that to this day was best described by her physician, "treating your mother is like lassoing a grizzly bear." She was smart and tenacious with a spirit for adventure and endless curiosity. Fearless at 86, she gave no thought to being strapped into a six-wheeler and shot up an Alaskan mountain.
A special thank you to her life-long friends, Lynn Wince, Nancy Donner, Dora Haslett, Rosemary Shiolas, Sonja Nikolay, Ruth Halvorson, Glenda Thompson, Kay Foos, Mary Ann Debritz, Jan Kelly, dear friend and neighbor, Jerry McEneny, and especially her treasured cousin, Florence Olsen.
She is survived by her sons, Charles Gregory (Linda) Rhodes, Christopher James (Mezel) Rhodes, and Michael Judson (Cathy) Rhodes; daughter, Marilyn Sue Rhodes (Ronald Kalil); 13 grandchildren, Katherine (Katie) Alexandra Lee, Danielle Nichols, Michael Rhodes, Jr., Chris Rhodes, Timothy Rhodes, Julia Rhodes, Geoffrey Rhodes, Gerrett Rhodes, Andrew Rhodes, Jeremy Rhodes, Brian Rhodes, Aaron Rhodes and Phillip Rhodes; nine great-grandchildren, Dillon, Logan, Asher, Aiden, Bowie, Garrett, Haley, Ryan and Alder; and nieces, Cherie Conner (Cone), Susie Cone, Alisha Cone, Theresa Cone and Anna Cone. Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Vivian Cone; brother, James Cone and daughter, Melinda Ann Rhodes (Lee), and son-in-law, Stanley Lee.
Her family wishes to thank the compassionate medical and personal care provided by Laurelhurst Village, Adventist Hospice and Providence Health System and to her granddaughter, Katie Lee, who provided amazing care over the last year.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016, 10 a.m. with a reception to follow at 11 a.m. at WILHELM'S PORTLAND MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 6705 SE 14th Ave., Portland, OR 97202. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be contributed to the Oregon Symphony, 921 SW Washington St., Suite 200, Portland, OR 97205 or online at http://www.orsymphony.org/getinvolved/donate.aspx, or the Oregon Humane Society, 1067 NE Columbia Blvd., Portland, OR 97211-1411 or online at http://www.oregonhumane.org/donate.
She leaves behind her strength, endurance, love of life and gift of forgiveness. Most of all, she leaves behind a value that we are all stronger than we think, always laugh hard, trust the future and listen to dogs. "The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment."--Warren Bennis