Marlene Haller loved sharing the memories of her life that created a beautiful scrapbook full of love, life, and experience.  She had a memory for just about everything - from growing up or how some practice, person, or place used to be, but especially about her family and the small town she lived in as a young woman.  Marlene’s colorful and detailed memories will no longer be heard as she passed away on Sunday, November 26, 2023, in her home in Valparaiso, Indiana. Marlene was born in Yorkville, Illinois, on October 23, 1934, to Jacob T.  Holley (d. 1988) and Bertha L. (Bieritz) Holley (d. 2005), who resided in Millington, Illinois.  She had 3 younger siblings:  Shelby (d. 1940), Tyra “Terry” (d. 2013), and Jerry. She loved living in Millington and had fond memories of growing up there with her family.  She attended Sandwich Schools until her graduation.
In 1954, Marlene met Donald E. Haller.  It didn’t take long for them to realize that they were meant for each other as they married quickly after their courtship began on July 19, 1954.  They took up residence in Illinois where they welcomed 2 children, Debra (in 1955) and David (in 1957).  Wanting a fresh start, they moved away from family to Indiana in 1959, where they added Robert “Bobby” (in 1962) and Donna (in 1964).  Their beginning in Valparaiso was rough.  Their youngest son Bobby became very ill with leukemia and passed away in 1966.  Marlene struggled with his death all her life.  She would tell her family that she would have dreams of him often.
After their kids were older, Don and Marlene traveled out west to visit family.  They enjoyed going to California and Disneyland.  Later in life, they caught the camping bug and spent the summers at Jellystone Park in Demotte, Indiana, cooking on the campfire and enjoying the leisure of the outdoors.  They didn’t find their happy place until they started going to Florida.  After visiting a friend, they fell in love with the winters there and worked quickly to find a place to call their own.  They traveled to Florida every winter until Don got too sick to go.  She missed it tremendously.
Marlene was blessed with 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.  Don and Marlene not only treasured them but helped raise 3 of them as their own.  They loved to take them to Shakey’s for pizza, Dairy Queen for ice cream, or the campground for the weekend.
Marlene worked at Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso as an Instrument Technician for almost 40 years until she retired.  She enjoyed working 3rd shift, which changed her sleeping habits for the rest of her life.  She would go to bed after she stopped working in the early hours of the morning and wake up after most of us were finishing up our workday.  In late 1987, Marlene was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After losing one of her breasts, she beat the cancer the following year and had been a survivor until her death.
One of Marlene’s passions was crafting.  She went through a cross stitch phase that resulted in making ring pillows for all her grandchildren.  She liked to sew and crotchet.  Don and Marlene created wood crafts together.  Don would do the wood cutting and Marlene would paint them.  Later in life, she would attend painting classes at the Senior Home.  She ended up with over 30 paintings.
Marlene will be remembered for her heart, memory sharing, and wisdom.  Her hugs were pretty great too. We will forever picture her at the table in the breakfast room at Deb’s house, telling her kids and grandkids about her life and our family.  Everyone took a turn to sit next to her, to give her a hug and hear what she had to say to us.  This single memory will live on in our hearts.
Marlene was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Haller; her son, Robert Haller; her brother Tyra Holley, and her sister, Shelby Holley; and her parents, Jacob and Bertha Holley.  She is survived by her brother, Jerry Holley; her children, Deb Rimsa, David Haller, and Donna Schlabach; her grandchildren, Kelly Mosher, Kathy Block, Diana Hoffman, and Bruce Sowell; and her great grandchildren, Carson Mosher, Brody Block, William Hoffman, and Hayli Hoffman.
A Memorial Visitation for Marlene Haller will be held on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at Moeller Funeral Home 104 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, with a short service beginning at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, Marlene was passionate about St. Jude Children’s Hospital and would appreciate any memorial contributions to be made to them in her name.  Please go to and search for the fund in Marlene’s name.


I am so sorry for the loss of Marlene. I pray for Donna and the rest of her family and friends. I had the pleasure of meeting Marlene a few times as Donna was married to my Brother Bruce Sowell and together they gave Marlene a Grand Son (Bruce Sowell) The times I was around Marlene, I found her to be a kind, sweet and caring person who loved everyone. I know she will be deeply missed by all. Again, my sincere condolences to her daughter Donna, my Nephew Bruce and all her family & friends. May you find peace and comfort during this difficult time. -Debbie Sowell-Herman 

Sending my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. Great Grandma Marlene gave the sweetest of hugs and there was no denying they were full of a gentle warmth and love that was just as unique and lovely as she was. With the most sincerity I hope to convey, it is was truly a pleasure to have made Great Grandma Marlene's acquaintance and to have seen her this past Thanksgiving. She was a truly loved woman who loved her family with all her heart... and there is no denying that her absence will be most keenly felt. It is my deepest hope that her family members will hold fast to the priceless memories that share. Her laugh, the way the light caught in the iris of her eyes, and the soft warmth of her hands... such memories and more can serve as the gentle candlelight in the dark shadows of loss. Great Grandma Marlene, it cannot be stated enough but thank you for sharing your hugs, your love, and the most beautiful light of your life. -Anna Garces 

Marleen always came to our home to see us everytime she came to Millington. Always enjoyed her visits. She knew so much about the Holley family. She will be missed by many. Condolences to her children, and brother Jerry and family. Sorry we will not be able to attend the service. -John and Judy Holley

My grandma was my hero she was a great woman who always told me I could amount to anything I'm gonna Miss her talk about Old days her warm hugs and being able to tell her I love her the most but hey at least she's with grandpa now rip in peace Grandma. -Bruce & autumn Sowell 

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