Marlene Loretta Zieser Blackburn was born June 19, 1934, in Alcester, South Dakota, to Stanley and Gladys (Miller) Anderson and died peacefully on July 22, 2022. A faith-filled, fashionable, and active wife and mother, she gave her heart to her family and the Catholic Church.
Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 AM, on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Tyndall with Reverend Mark Lichter officiating. Burial will be in St. Leo’s Cemetery in Tyndall. Visitation is from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, on Friday, July 29 at St. Leo’s Catholic Church with a rosary at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the funeral at the church. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Yankton.
Marlene graduated from the University of South Dakota and married R. James “Jim” Zieser on August 17, 1955. They resided in Tyndall, South Dakota, where Marlene began her teaching career. She started in a one-room country schoolhouse, then on to Tabor High School, and eventually to Tyndall High School, where she was well respected by both faculty and students and had the 1968 Panther Yearbook dedicated to her.
Governor Bill Janklow appointed Marlene to the South Dakota Board of Education where she served from 1980 to 1988. She was also appointed by Governor Janklow to serve on the South Dakota/Nebraska Boundary Commission in 1979. Marlene took great pride in both appointments and serving the citizens of South Dakota.
When Marlene was not in the classroom teaching the fundamentals of the English language, she could be found scouring cookbooks, planning detailed menus for dinner parties, or walking one of her beloved golden retrievers.
Lifelong learning led her to seek adventures beyond the classroom, as well: everything from the simplicity of camping in her Airstream along a creek in the Black Hills to the rich history of the Vatican in Rome.
She was widowed at age 61 and blessed to begin a new chapter in life with John Blackburn. They married November 30, 2002.
She is survived by her husband, John Blackburn, her sister Mildred (Robert) Johnson, her four children, her nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Marlene will be remembered as an elegant woman who lived with grace, but her greatest legacy consists of her four children: Nick (Jan) Zieser, Denver, CO; Lisa (Dan) Rothschadl, Tyndall, SD; Jana (Chris) Thomas, Grand Junction, CO; Mary Kay (Tom) Ireland, Sioux Falls, SD; as well as her beautiful grandchildren: Rick Zieser, Cincinnati, OH; Kirk Zieser, London, England; Kiaja (Austin) Walter, Denver, CO; MiKealy Thomas, Chicago, IL; Brielle Thomas, Grand Junction, CO; Andrew Thomas, Grand Junction, CO; Taylor Pfaff, Phoenix, AZ; Blake Pfaff, Sioux Falls, SD; Ally (Alex) Mack and their son, Graham, Kranzburg, SD.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Tyndall Community Foundation, Tyndall Fire Department, or a charity of your choice.