Marlene Zieser Blackburn

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.



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27 response to "Marlene Zieser Blackburn"

  1. By: Jack Kreber family Posted: July 25, 2022

    So sorry to hear about Marlene’s passing –So hard to lose a parent -Prayers to you all

  2. By: Joseph Hovorka Posted: July 25, 2022

    Sorry for your loss of your mom Lisa.

  3. By: Joseph Hovorka Posted: July 25, 2022

    Sorry for your loss.

  4. By: James and Sheri Duke Posted: July 26, 2022

    Our deepest condolences to all of you!

  5. By: Catherine Hagg Posted: July 26, 2022

    Nick, Lisa, Jana, and Mary Kay,
    We are so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. She was a wonderful family friend and will truly be missed. Mom and her always had a special connection with their weekly martini phone calls and dad with her as a teacher. Longtime family friends! Our prayers and condolences go out to all of you and John.
    Art and Cathy Taplett Hagg

  6. By: Craig Johnson Posted: July 26, 2022

    I only met Marlene one time, which was at John and her wedding reception, at the Kelly Inn. She seemed like such a wonderful and warm person. John was so proud and beaming!! I think the world of John, so take care, John. Thinking of the whole family………..

  7. By: Janet and Gail Sohler Posted: July 26, 2022

    John and family. We are saddened by the passing of Marlene. Our
    Prayers are with you at this time.

  8. By: KayWright Posted: July 27, 2022

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We are so sorry for your loss. Glenn and Kay Wright.

  9. By: Gene Numsen Posted: July 27, 2022

    My condolences to John, children, and grandchildren. (I am Marlene’s first cousin; our mothers were sisters.)

  10. By: Nick Vlasman Posted: July 27, 2022

    I first met Marlene in 1985. As a young State Trooper she made me feel so extremely welcomed in Tyndall with an occasional meal and good conversation

  11. By: Ron and Tasha Maty Posted: July 27, 2022

    Sending love and hugs to your family. May her memory be a blessing.

  12. By: DAWN KROPUENSKE Posted: July 27, 2022

    My thoughts and prayers go to my friend Mary Kay and family, Lisa and Dan, Jana and Family and Nick and family and her husband John Blackburn. I was lucky to get know Marlene when we moved to Tyndall when I was 7 years old, and her daughter Mary and I became the best of friends. She was such a class act. I remember her being a substitute teacher for our classes at Tyndall Tabor schools. I also remember her helping with Bill Janklow campaigns and putting signs in yards. I loved seeing her in Yankton years later where her and I had the same hairdresser. My heart breaks at this news. She will be missed. Dawn Kropuenske & Jerry Hansen

  13. By: Mike Elsberry Posted: July 27, 2022

    My sympathies to the entire family. God be with you.

  14. By: eileen jaeger Posted: July 27, 2022

    You are in my prayers; so sorry to learn of your Mothers passing. She always met us with her beautiful smile !

  15. By: Helen & Jim Blackburn-Pace Posted: July 27, 2022

    Marlene came into our lives when she married John Blackburn, my brother. I was so happy for both of them that they found each other. As we got to know Marlene, we learned to love and cherish her. Both of us and our three children Barb, Diane and Richard. We will miss her greatly. We all send our deepest sympathy to My brother and all of her children, grandchildren and great children

  16. By: Karen Kubal Edler Posted: July 27, 2022

    My most sincere thoughts and prayers to you all. I loved having her as a teacher. Enjoyed the jingle-jangle of her bracelets when she wrote on the chalk board!❤️❤️

  17. By: Jeanne Hoch Posted: July 28, 2022

    Dear Lisa. my heartfelt condolences to you and the whole family. I so admired your lovely mother as my teacher and family friend.

  18. By: Amy S Petrik Posted: July 28, 2022

    Deeply sorry to learn of Marlene’s passing. I fondly remember her as one of my substitute teachers while I was at BHHS in the 1980s, as well as, being a guest in her home while in high school and being actively involved with Jana in theater. You all had an amazing mama. Blessings to you all. She was one of a kind! Peace always.

  19. By: Joni Novak Posted: July 28, 2022

    Lisa and Nick,
    I was saddened to hear about the loss of your lovely mother. I respected her very much.
    She raised a beautiful family. May she rest in peace.

  20. By: Diane Szymanski Posted: July 28, 2022

    Jana & family. I am so sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I have so many good memories of time spent with your family, including the time your parents took us camping & to the Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant. I’m disappointed I can’t make it to the funeral & want you to know are in my thoughts & prayers. Steve also sends his regards.

    Steve & Diane Szymanski

  21. By: Lisa Bye Posted: July 28, 2022

    So sorry for your loss.

  22. By: Michael Schuurmans Posted: July 29, 2022

    Condolences from Mike and Karen Schuurmans to the Zieser and Blackburn family

  23. By: Cathy Cap Posted: July 29, 2022

    John, I am so sorry about your wife’s passing. Kevin and I met Marlene when we went to view our beautiful, first home you sold to us on 21st Street. She was so welcoming and such a delight to be around that she lit up a room. Then, when we were invited to your beautiful wedding, you two looked so happy and my heart filled with joy for you both. Marlene was such a delight to everyone she met and lived such a fulfilling life. John, my sincere condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. Many prayers for you John & your family. May God bless.

  24. By: Steve & Beverly Ericson Posted: July 29, 2022

    Our heartfelt condolences go out to to John and all of the children and grandchildren. May you each be comforted at this time of Marlene’s passing. She was an elegant lady. As first cousins with a 10 year age difference we were not as close as we were with other cousins. I remember Marlene and Jim’s wedding on a hot August day. May you each cherish your memories of her and a life well lived. May God bless each of you.

  25. By: Rose Novak Posted: July 30, 2022

    My condolences to your family.

  26. By: Lisa Ketcham Powell Posted: August 1, 2022

    John and family – I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and in the days ahead.
    Lisa Ketcham Powell (Jack’s wife)

  27. By: Tammy Kokesh Posted: August 5, 2022

    Jana & Family, I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. You have been in my prayers. I think of you often & wish you all the best. Please know that your friends love you. Sincerely, Tammy (Hill) & Dennis Kokesh

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