Marlene Faye Harms, 83, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away from complications from a major stroke on November 23, 2020 at her home in Aransas Pass, Texas.
Marlene was an Independence Day baby, born on July 4, 1937 in Lapeer, Michigan to Elgin and Ruth (Broecker) Peterson. The youngest of two children, she was predeceased by her brother David and her parents. Marlene inherited a strong spirit as evident in her battle with Stage 4 lung cancer for the past ten years.
Marlene was nicknamed “Honey Girl” by her adoring father Elgin about the first time he saw her. Marlene was an accomplished baton twirler and majorette at Lapeer High School, graduating in 1956. She took those skills with her to college at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where she graduated in 1959 with a degree in education. In 1957 Marlene won the title of Miss Lapeer County. As part of her official duties, Marlene represented Lapeer in the dedication of the Mackinac Bridge in June of 1958, waving proudly from one of 103 white Oldsmobile convertibles that transported beauty queens from each of Michigan’s 83 counties across the newly opened bridge that connected Michigan’s two peninsulas.
During her time as a Valpo Crusader, Marlene met the love of her life, Ron Harms. A Houston native, Ron was a three year lettermen in football, also with letters in swimming and track, and was swept off his feet by the blonde majorette. The couple married in August of 1959 and spent the next 61 years together. Raising an eventual family of four children, the Harms moved around the country, going where Ron’s career as a football coach would take them. Beginning with three years at Lutheran East High School in Detroit, followed by eight years at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, then onto four years at Adam State College in Alamosa, Colorado. In 1974, the Harms family migrated to Texas A&I in Kingsville where they would put down roots, interrupted briefly for a three year span at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Any place she lived Marlene was the ultimate coach’s wife and enjoyed supporting Ron in his coaching career. An excellent cook, Marlene was always willing to experiment in the kitchen and try out something new. Her family did not complain, they were always ready to sample her next “dish.” Born with a playful personality and great sense of humor Marlene raised her family in a very happy home. Marlene loved a good bargain and loved to hunt and barter for a deal, this trait she passed on to her children and even a few of her grandchildren.
Marlene was an active member of the many churches they belonged to throughout the years, teaching Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, working on Altar guild, whatever was required she was always willing to serve the Lord.
Marlene made use of her education degree in Detroit and Waco and finished her teaching career at Santa Gertrudis School in Kingsville where she taught physical education and coached volleyball and basketball.
She was a loving, fun grandmother to her nine grandchildren, who all knew her as “Mamoo.” They brought her great joy, and many memories were made with them. A summer at the beach or a trip to the Dollar Store, just being with “Mamoo” was priceless. Marlene loved games, especially casino games where she was said to be quite lucky.
After retiring in 2004 Ron and Marlene moved to Aransas Pass, Texas, where she settled into living on the water and enjoyed hosting family and friends. Marlene led a full and interesting life, one that is impossible to be summed up in just a simple obituary. In addition to the endearments of wife, mother and grandmother, Marlene was a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a sister-in-law, a Godmother, a coach, a Christian and for many others, a friend. She will be greatly missed, and we can take comfort in knowing she is in the arms of our Lord. We will always remember Marlene, we will share stories and laugh together over these memories, until one day when we all are together again.
Surviving are her four children: Cindy (Brian) Wheeless of Perrysburg, Ohio, Daniel Harms of Tulare, California, Beth (Bryan) Plater and Joe (Heather) Harms, both living in Austin, Texas; her grandchildren, Casey (Tyler) Bailey, Hannah Wheeless, Burke, Annalise and Georgia Plater and Chloe, Jake, Sullivan and Hugh Harms. Two sisters-in-law, Kay Peterson and Nadine Miller survive along with many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be private on Dec.1. due to Covid-19 concerns.
Memorials can be made to Faith Lutheran Church, 938 Lott Ave, Aransas Pass, Tx 78336 and MD Anderson (gifts.mdanderson.org)
The Harms family would like to thank the caregivers especially Heather and Laura who made Marlene’s last days comfortable, along with the many nurses and doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center who gave her excellent care over the last ten years.
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