Marjorie Rumburg was born to George and Alvida Menter in Des Moines, Iowa, at the onset of the Great Depression. Their family farm was destroyed by drought in the 1930s, and like so many families at that time they became part of the great westward migration documented in The Grapes of Wrath. Her family packed up what few possessions they owned and left Iowa in search of a new beginning.
Marge’s father, George, was already weakened by the Spanish flu of 1918, and had difficulty finding work, first in Albuquerque, New Mexico and later in Hollywood, California where the family settled in a rental home that they affectionately called “the dump.” Marge’s mother, Alvida, found work as a typist for a local company, and somehow the family managed to make ends meet.
Marge met Ken Rumburg in high school when they were just 17. Ken went to Glendale High, and Marge went to Hoover High. They were together until Ken was called up by the US Marine Corps to serve in the Korean War. Ken was one of the lucky few who survived the battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the frozen mountains of North Korea in 1950. Within days of returning from Korea, he and Marge were married, and would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in May of this year.
Marge and Ken went on to raise four awesome kids, including Karen, Jeff, Dana, and Karl. Those kids went on to raise seven kids of their own, including Michelle, Justin, Tamara, Roneil, Alyssa, Kristen, and Karli. And those seven grandchildren now have four kids of their own, including Rhys, Blake, Clive, and Sienna, the four great-grandchildren of Marge and Ken.
Marge’s family was her pride and joy. She took pleasure in nurturing her kids, spending time with her grandchildren, and encouraging all to achieve their potential and to always do what was good and right. As a little girl fleeing Iowa in the teeth of the great depression her expectations were modest, her future uncertain. And although the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease eventually claimed Marge’s life, she was with us long enough to see her children and grandchildren graduate from great universities, start businesses, earn a PhD, and build their own happy and loving families.
Marge’s other passion was her faith and belief in God. She was a devout Christian who attended church every Sunday and taught a weekly Bible study. Even as her memory began to fail her, Marge would read her Bible daily, and never lost faith that an eternity with God in heaven would be her reward for a life well lived.
It has been said that what you do in this life echoes in eternity. For those who knew Marge, and especially for those who are descended from Marge, you experienced her love and kindness firsthand. It is no exaggeration to say that she lived an exemplary life. Let us honor her legacy by leaving our own positive imprint on the sands of time.
Donations may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.