Marlene Bursell

Marlene Bursell


November 21, 1936 - July 2, 2022


We lovingly announce to our friends and extended family that our darling, fun-loving, vibrant, and generous mom, Marlene Dolores Bursell, passed away on July 2, 2022, in Mitchell, SD. She was 85 years young. Or, as she would tell anyone who asked, "I'm a sweet sixteen with 69 years of experience."

We are grateful to know of the jubilant reunion she is having with our Dad, Charles Gorwood Bursell, who passed away on February 7, 2010. Also in that happy reunion are her parents, Pieter and Anna De Mann, her sister, our dear Auntie Karen and Uncle Craig Kimball, mother and father-in-law Hazel "Rhea" and Cecil Bursell.

We, her children: Karen (Mike) Whitney, Mitchell, SD; Beverly (Guy) Miles, Bakersfield, CA; David (Shelly) Bursell, Windham, NH; Jill (Brian) Hargis, Bakersfield, CA; and John (Becky) Bursell, Alpine UT; will significantly miss her adventurous spirit and good-natured grin.

Mom is survived by Uncle Wayne and Aunt Carol De Mann of Lotus, CA, and Uncle Denny and Aunt Susan of Heber, UT, along with many nieces and nephews.

Mom leaves 18 grandchildren:  Adam (Jami) Whitney; Spencer (Crystal) Whitney; Geoff (Paige) Whitney; Justine (Nathan) Stornetta; Drew Whitney; Scott Miles; Shelley (David) Brown; Charles Tanner (Krista) Miles; Ben Bursell; Maddy (Ben) Tidwell; Hermana Emma Bursell; Elizabeth (Derek) Wallace; Andrew Hargis; Katherine Hargis; Matthew Hargis; Josie (Nick) Chingas; John Bursell and Jace Bursell.

Mom's grandchildren and great-grandchildren know her as "Oma," "Grandma," and "my great-grandmother, the tooth fairy." She has 13 great-grandchildren:  Molly, Charles, Peter, Louise, Ada, Jim, Miles, Madison, Olivia, Nora, Hattie, George, and Oliver.

Mom was born November 21, 1936, in Long Beach, CA, attending U.S. Grant Elementary School, Charles Lindbergh Jr High, and David Starr Jordan High School, where she excelled academically and in athletics, winning the top girl's athletic award in 1955.

Upon high school graduation at 18, she enlisted in the U.S. Airforce on August 23, 1955, stationed in Nebraska at Offutt Air Force Base Headquarters, Strategic Air Command, and honorably discharged on May 6, 1958.

On May 16, 1959, she married Charles Bursell in the Los Angeles Temple, making their home in Bakersfield, CA, where Dad was employed as a petroleum engineer.

During this time, mom was busy raising five children, several foster children, and was the ultimate homemaker. She gardened, raised chickens, landscaped, decorated cakes, kept bees and extracted honey, made homemade bread, dried fruit, and canned everything we grew, including the large albacore Dad would catch on one of his many fishing trips.

Mom would often load her children into the back of the station wagon to visit nearby agricultural fields to pick strawberries, cherries, plums, onions, potatoes, and corn. All to be canned, dried, or frozen. She inherited the "Dutch frugality" from her Holland immigrant parents.

She was an accomplished athlete and outdoorswoman participating in sports leagues and camps and helped Dad build a cedar home at the ranch they purchased in the early seventies. She was skilled with a shotgun, killing encroaching rattlesnakes, and could wield a chain saw with artistic flair. She even became an expert in cement work, creating a rock retaining wall and patio area with extensive landscaping.

Mom not only worked in our home, making sure we participated in sports, piano, ballet, and baton lessons, but also served countless hours in our church, scouting, and the community. She served on the Beardsley School Board from 1985 to 1990 and sang in the Bakersfield College Choir and later the Bremerton Stake Choir in Washington state.

After her children were grown, she returned to school, earning a bachelor's degree in Psychology (1994) and a master's degree (1999) in Education. After that, she taught English at Bakersfield College until she and Dad moved to Washington State to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Zion's Camp in Belfair. They built a home in Port Orchard and then served again in the Family History Center on another mission for the church and in several other church assignments.

Additionally, Mom was a gifted artist working in stained glass, pottery, photography, painting, and drawing. She enjoyed shocking Dad with an outlandish mural painted on his garage door.

Mom had a rebellious streak; she loved a good prank (especially if she was on the giving end) and was fearless in pursuing her goals, always giving 100 plus percent to anything she decided to do.

Dad passed away in 2010. Mom moved to Mitchell, SD, in 2019 and spent the last year of her life socializing and amusing the residents and staff at Edgewood Assisted Living.

She lived life to its fullest, and the fruits of her labors are observed in her posterity.

Mom will be laid to rest with Dad in a graveside service with military honors at Greenlawn Cemetery in Bakersfield, California, on Monday, July 18, 2022, at 9 am.

We appreciate Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell, SD, and Cecil Martin in Bakersfield, CA, helping our family with Mom's final arrangements.


Greenlawn Cemetery
Bakersfield, CA

Posted by Sandy campbell on July 20, 2022
We will miss your smile love
Posted by Sharon Wilcox on July 18, 2022
Marlene balanced her great intelligence and many accomplishments with a delightful sense of humor and a ready laugh. I'm grateful I was able to have her as a friend.
Posted by Nova Johnson on July 18, 2022
Love forever to our dear sweet eternal friend.
Posted by Kathy Jo Wade on July 8, 2022
Marlene was a wonderful friend. She was an outstanding member of the Beardsley School Board, who was deeply concerned for the well-being of Beardsley students and staff. Marlene was aa fun person to be with, always up to some shenanigan or other. I will greatly miss her.
Posted by Curtis Smith on July 7, 2022
I only knew her in her final years. She was looking forward to playing volleyball at the upcoming church picnic. She was also excited about the upcoming family reunion in Bakersfield. I know that she is happy you are still going to have it. Glad I was able to read this obituary and get to know her even better. She sounds like an incredible woman. We will miss her here in Mitchell.
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