Donation Home for Marlys (Conlin) Milburn
Somewhere in the stars is a great library full of learnings, wisdoms, histories and predictions. The beauty lies in the vastness and simplicity. In the back, past the common eye, under an impossibly perfect eternal light there is a cozy reclining chair. A wooden end table next to a chair supports a few uneven stacks of books and a notebook with scrawled passages about peculiar authors. A warm cup of tea steams next to a small Swiss chocolate. You can hear the breathing of a very spoiled large woofer resting comfortably. As a good, recovering Catholic, that’s our momma’s heaven and that is where she will be.
Marlys Ann Conlin left a small farm in Sauk Centre, Minnesota town with the unreal irony of being the home of Sinclair Lewis, when she was 18 to adventure west to Los Angeles. With opening eyes, ferocious curiosity and hardened stubbornness she returned to Minneapolis. Of all the occupations, especially for a woman in the 60s it can only be karmic that she was discovered by math and programming. She met my dad at Univac, meticulously punch carding weapons of war. He was her hiring manager and boss and everyone knew that she was the smartest human around. She helped pioneer radar…humbling to write it. They sent her to the first Hannover Fair, which became CeBIT in 1970 to unpack and demo a CRT….more humbling yet. She was right there, creating, exploring and pioneering the tech world that engulfs us today.
She married our dad, moved to Oak Park and created a family. She made a deliberate decision to switch her math brain from working on weapons to working on children. She talked often about that sacrifice. There is not enough thanks to give, love to remember, memories to cherish…simply the best. We always had books, report cards were important, so was the freedom to explore. She taught us the importance of Orion Samuelson’s farm report and home cooked dinner at 6 was mandatory. She drove the remodeling of our house, acted as the vet and doggy momma to many woofers and taught us the principles of investing. In 1984, she made us sit in the god forsaken wallpaper store for hours but then went next door and bought a Mac. She bought the acoustic phone coupler.
She possessed and passed on a wonderful mischief. Thank you momma, we both got a full dose. A few of our favorite memories:
- The time, after dad had temporarily relocated to South Carolina for a job, when at an Executive gathering a fine Southern Gentlemen asked “the women to go to the parlor so the men could talk about important things”. She moved back before breakfast the next morning. We cannot print what she told the hosts.
- We never went to Disneyland. She took us to Springfield to visit Abraham Lincoln, to Taos New Mexico to see the Pueblos, and countless trips to Canada to explore the Boundary Waters.
- After doing something particularly naughty she paddled my rump with a wooden spoon. It broke in half on the 3rd wack. She broke out in laughter and made me my favorite spaghetti carbonara. My sister loved that.
- The time when I insisted we increase the SKUs at our lemonade stand and sell hot dogs, fresh sandwiches and cookies. Apparently, the cops thought we needed a license for this type of operation. She winked and gave us a bonus
- I think it was my 5th birthday. She was tired of the consumer society and of the wanton demands from this little in particular. She shredded pounds of newspaper’s and carefully rolled dollar bills into tiny rolls. I had to sort by hand for hours. Oh yeah…she put a rubber chicken in the box just because it was fun
- I once wrote a paper about my “Macbre Cat Named Magic. In truth the cat was really special and troubled but the teacher objected the usage of the word “Macbre”. Mom came and defended by word choice honor. It was a few years later she spent 4 hours helping me understand “spaghettifiacation”. God she loved words.
- From my understanding Pancreatic Cancer is usually a death sentence. Dad has been in remission for 5 years. His doctor’s were critical but she nursed him back to health one day at time for years. Keeping him away from sugar was nothing short of a miracle. Thank you so much from all of us.
She found, created, and pioneered a tremendous legacy. She gave us kids and our dad way more than we deserve. In the recent years, she claimed she was a realist but we are pretty confident it was an accelerating fear about the uncertainty of the planet and fragility of women’s rights. A constant in her life was her concern about the state of the world and her wishes that if she could have a legacy it would be to have an impact on the environment, animals, and women's rights.
To that end, we are asking that all donations be made to The Jane Goodall Foundation.
There are so many amazing things happening because of the work of the Jane Goodall Institute - endangered chimpanzee numbers are turning around, forests are coming back to life, people are living happily alongside vital ecosystems, and thousands of young people are becoming impressive stewards of the environment - please join me in supporting their work so that we can take Dr. Goodall’s vision for a more harmonious world into the future!
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