Marjorie Engel


January 23, 1937 - January 3, 2021


Marjorie Engel, 83, of Ethan, SD, died Sunday, January 3, 2021 at Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Saturday, January 9, 2021 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be at Graceland Cemetery in Howard, SD. A visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Marjorie Belle Olmsted Engel was born on January 23, 1937 in Huron SD.  She was living at the Good Samaritan Village in Sioux Falls when she passed away on January 3, 2021.  Marjorie is survived by her children: Valerie Lentz of Sioux Falls SD, Brett Engel of Huron SD and Rachel and Greg Steele of Plankinton SD.  Marjorie has 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren:  Katrina (Lentz) and Kevin Kruse, Zeke, Eli and Wesley; Joshua Lentz; Matt and Kayla Lentz, Tyler Struss, Blaine and Gabriel Lentz—all from Sioux Falls, SD.  Cara (Steele) and Corey Carber, Tasia Westover, Amelie, Annadale and Oveline from Garretson SD.  Caleb Steele from Plankinton SD. 

Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne and Minnie (Michel) Olmsted, siblings Donna Jean, Alan, Myron and husband John. 

Marjorie’s faith was central in her life.  She was baptized as a teenager and attended Christian Churches in Spencer and Huron.  When John finally got the courage to ask her for a date she told him that she attended Bible study on Wed nights and would he like to come with her.  John was also baptized and he and Marjorie were faithful and active members of the Huron Christian Church and Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mitchell.  If you were looking for Marj you would find her in a classroom teaching kids or adults or in the kitchen organizing and directing activities for potlucks, weddings or funerals.  Marjorie was never a pew sitter. 

Marjorie was a lifelong learner and was laser focused when it came to education.  Marjorie graduated from Howard High School in 1955.  She attended Nebraska Christian College and graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Literature in 1958.  She then moved back to Huron and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Huron College in 1959.  She then attended and was also a professor at Dakota Bible College graduating with her Bachelor of Theology in 1962.   After her kids were school age she returned to college and graduated from SDSU in 1982 with a Master of Education.  Marjorie taught third/fourth and fifth/sixth grade combo classrooms in Alpena SD for over 20 years.  You can still run across Alpena alums who remember “Mrs. Engel” fondly from their grade school days. 

Marjorie was a wonderful wife and mother.  She was also an exceptional homemaker.  Marj sewed clothes for all family members.  Ask about the “love pokes” you were apt to get if she forgot to get all the pins removed before she gave it to you to wear!  Marj was a cook and baker.  Homemade bread, pies and cookies were always available for snacking—though her caramel rolls were truly the best!  Marj always had a very large garden and she canned everything she could to be ready for the coming year.  If it didn’t move—Marj canned it!  Those home cooked meals are missed by all of her family.

Marj not only cooked at home but she also cooked for many years at Siouxland Christian Camp.  It might have been camp but there were still homemade rolls for breakfast and fresh baked buns for meals.  There are at least 2 generations of kids that remember their camp years with Mrs. Engel in the kitchen.

Marj always had a heart for adventure.  “Have car—will travel” could have been her motto.  She took Grandma Olmsted on yearly trips to Oklahoma to visit Aunt Shirley and the family.  She also took Grandma Olmsted and Rachel and drove to Alaska in 1980.  It took 7 days to get there as there was gravel road for 800 miles through Canada.   Marj and Valerie also flew out to California and drove up and down the coast for a week.  John had no desire to travel but told them not to call him if they got killed out there! 

Marjorie was family historian and story teller.  She had an interest in genealogy and knew all the connections that made up the extended families.  Marjorie kept history alive by telling stories of cousins, uncles and grands.  Family was not just old pictures but interesting characters with stories of how they fit in the family tree.  

Above all, Marjorie had a servant heart.   There was many times that there were relatives—close or sometimes shirt tail cousins—staying at her house after surgeries or illnesses.   There were also grandmas and great grandmas that stayed for periods of time.  She never sat still when she came to visit.  It wasn’t uncommon to find that Marjorie had cleaned your oven or washed your walls while she was in between activities.   It was said that if Marjorie wasn’t moving then she was asleep! 

Over the last five years, the effect of Alzheimer’s disease have been more and more apparent.  Marjorie lost many of the wonderful abilities that made her who she was.  She also lost the awareness of who people were and how they belonged in her life.  In the last 18 months there have been 2 things that Marjorie never lost—she was always looking for John and waiting for him to take her home.   We rejoice that the day has come—she is with John and is home at last!  Praise God for the hope that we have through Jesus Christ our Lord! 



Saturday, January 9, 2021
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Saturday, January 9, 2021
11:00 AM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Graceland Cemetery
Howard, SD

Posted by Dick & Judy Ross on January 14, 2021
So sorry for your loss. It was fun to be around Marge. She was cheerful and great to talk with. We were not able to attend her service but know it was a wonderful one. Glad to have access to the full obituary. Will make a copy for us to keep. We enjoyed looking at the video too. Great pictures of all of you. Dick has fond memories of the whole family. So many of the older family members are gone. Bless you all.
Posted by Steve Baum on January 7, 2021
Rachel, I am sorry to hear about your mom. She was such a good person. Prayers to you an your family.
Posted by Steve and Sheryl McClure on January 7, 2021
So sorry to hear of your mom, we knew your mom when they lived in Ethan. She was a very special person. May God bless.
Posted by Pauline long on January 6, 2021
So sorry. She was a great teacher. And great friend. She will be greatly missed.
Posted by Mary Louise Jensen on January 6, 2021
Prayers to the family. She was our children's teacher in Alpena for the years she was there and they were young enough to be in her class. Always enjoyed talking to her if we met but had been awhile not since they moved from Huron. Sounds like will be lots of memories to talk about and remember. She is now with john and living with no pains.
Posted by Brenda Jensen-Schmidt on January 6, 2021
Sorry to hear of the passing of " Mrs. Engel". I am one of the Alpena Alum that does remember her, Class of 1983. Last time I saw her was at another of our teachers, Mrs. Wuestewald funeral. Had a really good talk about the Alpena school with her. My brother, Leo, also an Alpena alum , and I were just talking about her and other teachers yesterday, how ironic. Sorry to hear about the last months. Sounds like her last months were sad but now happy to hear she is reunited with her husband. RIP , Mrs. Engel. Go Wildcats!!
Posted by Pat and Dick Kruse on January 5, 2021
what a wonderful life and testimony she lived. God Bless each family member to hold her memories in your hearts. Hugs.
Posted by Barb Dulaney on January 5, 2021
So sorry to hear about your mom she was a very sweet person. May God bless you all take care
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