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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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August 14, 2022

6/3/2022 5:29:00 AM
Marilynn Pearl Orton

Marilynn Pearl Orton passed away on May 28, 2022, at home surrounded by family, succumbing to her third battle of cancer.

Marilynn was born in Chicago on March 10, 1939, first born to Harold and Pearl Murphy. Marilynn grew up in the Oriole Park area of Chicago and attended Oriole Park Grade School and later graduated from Taft High School in January 1957. In October 1959, she married Raymond M. Orton in Chicago.

She worked various jobs: the Telephone Company, General Finance, Montgomery Wards, the U.S. Postal Service, and Elmhurst Hospital. Then in 1976 she had a brilliant idea and moved herself and the three kids to Northern Wisconsin and found her true calling as a school cook for the Rhinelander school district. Her first years were at Pine Lake Elementary School and then the remainder of the years at Cassian-Woodboro School in Harshaw from which she retired in June 2004 after 24 years of service.

Marilynn lived an active life before and after retirement. On top of working as a school cook, she also spent 12 summers working out at Tesomas Boy Scout Camp as a cook. She also worked evenings and weekends at Woolworths in Rhinelander until they closed and then at Trig's until her retirement. While working she was very active with the WSFSA (Wisconsin School Food Service Association) on the local state, and national level. It was during this time that she was awarded the Louise Sublette Award and the Heart of the Program Award. She attended numerous conferences on both state and national levels. She was also a member of the church choir, the First United Methodist Church, and United Methodist Women. She oversaw the monthly communion, was a past treasurer of the church, frequent cook for everyone come night, was active in developing and working at the personal essentials pantry the church runs monthly, and a frequent participant on church mission trips. She was also treasurer of the United Methodist Woman, participating in fund raising including making cookies for the annual bake sale and salads for the annual salad luncheon and worked in the church office when it was needed.

One of her true enjoyments at church was listening to both the Carillon bell and the Hand Bell Choir. With retirement she spent her days with friends, playing cards, going out to eat, and going on many trips including New York City, Branson, Mo., and Washington D.C., also a few trips to Texas to see her sister, Cheryl, and Chicago to see her brother, Richard, and many other family members.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Pearl Murphy, and many aunts, and uncles, also with many dear friends.

She is survived by her family which includes her children, Kathy Orton, Ken (Denise) Orton, and Kimi Orton; five grandchildren, Jeanelle (Travis) Babcock, Michael (Leah) Kallerud, Elizabeth Orton, Jessica Orton, and Zaiden Orton and nine great-grandchildren, Justice, Zakary, Abbigail, Tapanga, Sarah, Leonardo, Dexter, Orian, and Lynia; her brother, Richard (Lyn) Murphy and sister, Cheryl Wells. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, and many friends.

The visitation for Marilynn will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at Rhinelander First United Methodist Church, located at 724 Arbutus Street from 10 a.m. until the 12 p.m. (noon) memorial service. Rev. Mark Klaisner officiating.

A memorial has been established in Marilynn's name at First United Methodist Church for the Carillon Bells, which meant so much to Marilynn.

Her family would like to thank Marshfield Medical Center and Compassus Hospice for the wonderful care their mother received.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hildebrand Funeral Home & Cremation Specialists, 24 E. Davenport Street, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 54501, 715-365-4343. Everyone is invited to sign the guestbook or leave an online condolence at

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