Cover photo for Marilyn Kay Grabill's Obituary
Marilyn Kay Grabill Profile Photo
1935 Marilyn 2020

Marilyn Kay Grabill

April 16, 1935 — December 11, 2020

Marilyn Kay Grabill, the daughter of Walter Marinus and Arlene Marie (Blohm) Hansen, was born on April 16, 1935 on her Grandmother Tena Hansen’s farm in Greeley Township in Audubon County, Iowa, and died at the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa on December 11, 2020 at the age of 85 years, 7 months, and 25 days.

Marilyn was baptized and confirmed in 1950 at the First Methodist Church in Audubon, Iowa. She attended rural schools in Audubon and Guthrie Counties. She went to high school in Audubon, worked in the superintendent’s office, and was among the first to be in Audubon High School’s National Honor Society. Marilyn graduated with the Audubon High School Class of 1953.

Marilyn married Eldon Keith Grabill on May 31, 1953 at First Methodist Church in Audubon. Their union was blessed with four children: James, Julie, Betsy, and Kent. They farmed primarily in Douglas Township in Audubon County. Marilyn loved her cats, working in her large garden, and with her flowers. She preserved the foods she raised and shared the best raspberry jam! She helped Keith with raising chickens and walking beans. She enjoyed babysitting for her nephew and niece, Troy and Risa Grabill, and all of her grandchildren. Marilyn sorted corn for Christoffersen’s Clover Hill Hybrids.

Marilyn worked as superintendent of the floral department at the Audubon County Fair. She was Clothing & Textile 4-H Leader for the Douglas Daughters 4-H Club for 10 years. She served on First United Methodist Church Circles and as a circle leader, and received an honorary UMW pin. She especially enjoyed sewing school bags for the mission kids, having created 426 in 12 years. Marilyn served on the Caring & Sharing Board for 20 years. She was a member of the 3M Club for nearly 60 years, as well as a member of the Friendship Home Auxiliary and Hospital Auxiliary. Geneaology was also very important to Marilyn. She spent many hours researching and tracing family lineage at courthouses, libraries and cemeteries, even creating plot maps for several cemeteries in Audubon County and Merrill’s Grove Cemetery in Shelby County. She and Keith helped with the Fiscus Centennial and served on the Fiscus Community Club.

Marilyn and Keith enjoyed traveling and spent many years in a card party. She even developed her own passion for participating in Keith’s hobby restoring old tractors. She was an excellent cook and everyone loved her peanut butter balls.

Preceding her in death were her granddaughter, Miranda Rasmussen; her son-in-law, Dale Christoffersen; her parents; her step-father, Art Christensen; an infant sister; her siblings: Eugene and wife Helen Hansen, Janice and husband Ronald Wellendorf, and Nadene Peppers; her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Barbara Doyel, Martin Jorgensen, and Dean Fulmer; her parents-in-law, Garland and wife Doris Grabill; her Uncle Pete and Aunt Helen Hansen, and Russell Herbert.

Survivors include her husband, Keith Grabill of Audubon; her children: James “Jim” and wife Jane Grabill of Leo, Indiana; Julie Rasmussen of Exira, Iowa; Betsy and husband Doug Carter of Audubon; and Kent and wife Joyce Grabill of Audubon; her grandchildren: Cami Grabill and son Ethan; Chris and wife Liz Grabill and daughter Aleacia Miller; Adam and wife Emily Grabill and daughter Haley; Jerica and husband Wesley Thoms and children Jeron and Iris; Danika and husband Rush Geter and children Rush Bailey, Jr., Grant, Zachary, and Iain; James V. Rasmussen; Caleb and wife Racheal Rasmussen and son Mack; Greg and wife Telia Carter and children Ryver and Gianna Knueven; Rachel and husband Steve Russell and children Zoey, Tessa, and Hannah; Mike and wife Jenna Carter and children Dylan and Evelyn; Ashley and husband Chris Hautt and children Gene, Carter, and Eldon; and Andrew and wife Becca Grabill; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Russ Peppers of Arizona; Rex and wife Judy Grabill, Alvin and wife Peggy Grabill, Helen Jorgensen and Donnie Armentrout, all of Audubon; Jim Doyel of Mason City, Iowa; Sam and wife Shirley Grabill of Audubon; Larry and wife Gayle Grabill of Lander, Wyoming; and Nancy Fulmer of Cameron, Missouri; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, December 18, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at the St. Patrick’s Parish Center in Audubon, Iowa with Pastor Kathy Kluis officiating. Interment will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery. There will be an open viewing on Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. at the Kessler Funeral Home in Audubon. The family will not be present for the viewing. Masks will be required for attendance at both events. Honorary casket bearers will be the Staff from the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa, Cami Grabill, Rachel Russell, Ashley Hautt, Jerica Thoms, and Danika Geter. Casket bearers will be Chris Grabill, Greg Carter, Adam Grabill, Mike Carter, Andrew Grabill, James Rasmussen, and Caleb Rasmussen.

Marilyn's funeral service will be livestreamed on KESSLER FUNERAL HOMES INC. Facebook page. You will need a Facebook account to view the service. To get to our Facebook page, you may scroll to the bottom of our homepage at, and click the Facebook logo to be taken directly there. Or you can log into your Facebook account, search for KESSLER FUNERAL HOMES INC, and 2-3 minutes prior to the service start, the video will appear in the timeline. Please note: you will not find the video feed prior to the start of the service. If you experience difficulties viewing the broadcast at the time of the service, the recording will remain on our Facebook page for additional viewing opportunities.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Kay Grabill, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, December 17, 2020

9:00am - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Kessler Funeral Homes, Inc. - Audubon

515 South Division Street, Audubon, IA 50025

The family will not be present for the viewing. As a reminder, masks will be required for the viewing due to Covid-19 requirements.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Patrick's Parish Center

102 Market Street, Audubon, IA 50025

As a reminder, masks will be required to be worn throughout the funeral service due to Covid-19 requirements.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Maple Grove Cemetery

, Audubon, IA 50025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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