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Marlys Nichols, loving mother and grandmother, died peacefully at the age of 69, on Sunday, September 29, 2019. Marlys was a ranch wife in the Geraldine community for many years, and resident of Great Falls since 1998.
A Funeral Service will be held at 12:00 noon this Friday, October 4, 2019 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house, 4601 3rd Avenue South, in Great Falls. Croxford Funeral Home is handling the memorial arrangements.
Marlys was born on October 8, 1949 to parents Harry and Betty (Engellant) Nichols, who made their home on a family farm east of Geraldine. Marlys later attended school in Geraldine, Fort Shaw, and Great Falls, where she lived with her mother, a teacher, and younger sister Brenda.
Marlys enjoyed close ties with her grandparents, Winnie and John Engellant, and spent a lot of time at their ranch when she was growing up. She cherished those memories throughout her life.
On March 22, 1967, Marlys married Jerry Wilda. The marriage was blessed with six children: Sharlo, Timothy, Amy, James, Karen, and Holly.
Marlys dearly loved raising her children on the family ranch. She found great joy in motherhood, and was grateful for the work of tending her garden, milking cows, and all of the tasks that accompanied farm life. Family and friends always looked forward to gathering around her lovely Sunday dinner table to savor her classic ranch-style meals, artisan breads, and pies.
Marlys worked at United Materials after moving to Great Falls. She liked her job, and was beloved by those she worked with. She remained with the company for well over a decade, until she retired.
Marlys was an avid reader, and shared her passion for books with her children and grandchildren. She started beautiful children’s libraries for each of her kids with thoughtfully selected Christmas and birthday gifts.
Marlys embraced a life of service. She loved helping others, kindly and efficiently, behind the scenes. She had a way of quickly assessing what needed to be done in any situation, and doing it, often before anyone noticed. She could always be counted on, and she served on the school board as well as in numerous capacities within her church and other organizations. She was a member of D.A.R., and, of course, a book club. She cherished the friendships of the women in those groups.
Marlys was known for her warm smile and kindness to all. Countless times, her children have been told, “Your mom is the kindest person I know.”
Marlys countered hardship and pain with a spirit of generosity, grace and forgiveness. She lived with gratitude, and found abiding joy as a woman of faith. Marlys was a loyal and compassionate friend, and dearly loved mother, sister, grandmother and great grandmother.
Marlys was preceded in death by her parents, Harry Nichols and Betty Engellant.
She is survived by her children: Sharlo Lilly (Casey), Timothy Wilda (Suanne), Amy Beames (Aaron Perry), James Wilda (Summer), Karen Byrne (Adam), and Holly Loomis (Geoff). She will be sadly missed by her twenty-two grandchildren: Riker, Mary, Amanda, Sydnie, Courtnie, Marin, Angelyn, Ashlyn, Abigail, Heather, Samuel, Tessa, Savana, Matrim, Annie, Sara, Kathryn, Becca, Kelsey, Elijah, Brenna, and Emily. She leaves behind five great grandchildren: Addilynn, Luca, Alexandra, Thatcher, and Barrett. Marlys will also be fondly remembered by sisters Brenda (Brett) Wilson, Vida (John) Poling, Linda (David) Fuson, brother John Nichols, and numerous nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Condolences to the family may be shared online at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com