This has been a very difficult two weeks. On Saturday, February 15th, I learned that my dear friend, Marlys,was diagnosed with another cancer. On Friday, February 21st, she was admitted to the hospital with hospice. On Tuesday, February 25th, she died and on Friday, February 28th I had the honor of officiating her memorial service. It all happened so fast.
I first met Marlys at church. My husband, David, and I moved back to Columbia Falls in 1997 and we started attending Fellowship Alliance Church. I don’t know the first Sunday that we met, but I have very fond memories of many Sunday services, ladies luncheons, holiday pot-lucks, and several 55 Plus Club meetings. (I didn’t qualify, but I had a blast sneaking in and visiting with my elders.)
A few years later, David and I started attending a different church and I didn’t see Marlys as much. We were experiencing a lot of change for the next 3-5 years, in a lot of areas. It was difficult and I experienced a lot of growth and healing. As you know, that doesn’t come easy. It was hard work. Plus, I was pursuing my own path in ministry, traveling a lot and hosting conferences.
However, every now and again, I would see Marlys at the grocery store. She’d ask how I was doing and give me a big hug. She always had an encouraging word and lots of love. I always seemed to run into her when I needed it the most. I didn’t know until years later, that she, herself, was going through tough times. However, you would have never known it.
In 2005, at the funeral of her grandson, we reconnected again. I had gotten to know some of her family and hadn’t even made the connection that they were all related until the service. I can still remember it so clearly. We had a good laugh over that. Wow, that was over 8 years ago.
For the last 8 years, we have enjoyed many talks and lunches together. I’ve gotten to meet her children, many of her grandchildren, and a few of her great-children. I even had the opportunity to meet up with her and her family during a huge family reunion in ND. We’ve laughed together and cried together. She holds a very special place in my heart.
In February 2008, the Lord spoke to my heart about Marlys dying and the possibility of officiating her memorial service and the importance of being there for her family. At first, I thought it would be that year. As each February / March would come, I would revisit this … I don’t even know what you would call it … But I would mentally go through where the family was at, the relationships, what I would say in the event I would officiate the service and how I would be available to everyone. There are no words for how thankful I am that we’ve had the last 6 years together.
Marlys’ obituary reads:
Marlys J. Frey, 85, passed away on Feb. 25, 2014, at HeathCenter Northwest in Kalispell, after a long battle with cancer. Marlys was born to Alva and Mable Moffatt in Bottinue, N.D., on May 25, 1929. On Nov. 2, 1946, Marlys married John Frey in Minot, N.D. Together they raised nine children.
Marlys was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, John, in September 1998; son, Ron Frey; daughter, Gloria Frey Crawford; and grandson, Brandon Frey. Marlys work as a waitress for most of her career, and also worked in the plywood plant in Oregon until she retired.
Mom loved her children and grandchildren and loved spending as much time as possible with them. She enjoyed gardening and would plant as many flowers as her yard would hold … She loved to play Texas Hold’em and bingo. She so enjoyed life and tried to get as much as she could out of it.
She also belonged to 55-Plus and the Alliance Church in Columbia Falls. She lived in Columbia Falls for the past 23 years.
Marlys is survived by children, Rod Frey of Oregon, Johnnie Frey and Debbie of Alabama, Don Frey of Columbia Falls, Marla Smith and Tom of South Dakota, Melvin Frey and Lori of Alaska, and Lonnie Frey of Columbia Falls. Marlys is also survived by her brother, Robert Moffatt, of Minnesota.
Marlys has numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild whom she cherished.
Service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls. A celebration of Marlys’ life will be held at Fellowship Alliance Church, 1025 Seventh Ave. W. in Columbia Falls following the service, until 5 p.m. Columbia Mortuary is caring for Marlys’ family.
There are no words for how grateful I am that Marlys’ family asked me to officiate her service. She means so much to me and I love her family dearly. I was asked to share some Scripture verses during the service and they are:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18 NIV
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NIV
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
In the hospital on Sunday before she died, I sat with Marlys and held her hand. I asked how she was doing, and she smiled and said “Just fine.” As she continued to look in my eyes, she said, ” …. Well, .. you know … “. I smiled back and said, “Yes, I know.” We shared a long, deep look. I know she loved me as deeply as I loved her, and I am so thankful for that.