Marilyn Wilking Ortt

Marilyn Wilking Ortt, 78, of Marietta, passed away May 25, 2014. She fought the fight with grace, dignity and humor.

Born July 14, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Clarence Reckard Wilking and Mildred (Walters) Wilking.

She grew up in Oak Grove. After graduation from Marietta High School with the class of 1953, Marilyn worked as a secretary for several years with the FBI in Washington, D.C. during the Herbert Hoover Administration. She returned to Marietta, and became the first woman in Marietta College’s history to graduate with credits earned entirely in the MC evening school program while working full-time at Fenton Art. She graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Chemistry. Marilyn worked as a spectrograph technician in the laboratory at the Electromet Corp. She met and married the late William Charles Ortt of Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Aug. 23, 1958. Marilyn’s passion and love of botany and the environment led her to work as a field botanist for the State of Ohio in the Dept. of Natural Areas and Preserves monitoring endangered species.

Marilyn was instrumental in help founding local environmental programs including: Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, Marietta Area Recycling Center, Kroger Wetlands, Kris-Mar Woods, Marietta Natural View, Community Earth Day Celebration, The Outdoor Education Center so local school children could explore woods and streams in a natural setting, Marietta Natural History Society, Marietta Tree Commission, Washington County Household Hazardous Waste Day, the Tefft Property, the Boord Preserve and the Ladd Natural Bridge – each of these has now been protected, either through the Ohio Nature Conservancy or ODNR. She strongly believed that you should leave this world in a better place for future generations and she did so. She also served on numerous boards and was a 4-H Advisor for many years.

Marilyn loved camping with her family especially in the Canaan Valley, W.Va. Area at Dolly Sods for hiking, berry picking and campfire stories. She enjoyed the yearly trip to the Eastern Migratory Bird Station to see and share the bird banding with family.

She is survived by her children, Margaret Ann Landis (Jerry) of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Jonathon Charles (Jennifer) of Ripley, W.Va., Jocelyn Heather Barrett (Marc) of Beaver, Pa., Jennifer Elaine (Ed Dominguez) of Seattle, Wash., and Kathryn Hillary of Marietta. She was a special and loving Mema to Sammie and Cassie Ortt and Katy and Gracie Barrett; her special cousin, Carol (Brown) Lang; her husband, Joe; her aunt, Joan Walters of Marietta; her siblings, James (Sally) Wilking of SLC, Utah, and Sue (Walt) Gregory of Navasota, Texas; along with hosts of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

We would like to thank Dr. Rajendra Bhati, Dr. Kelli Cawley and the rest of her team of doctors and nurses at Marietta Memorial Hospital for their loving care given to our mom.

The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, May 28, at Cawley & Peoples Funeral Home, 408 Front St., Marietta, with a Vigil Service held at 3 p.m. A mass of Christian Burial to celebrate her life will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 29, at The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Marietta, with The Rev. Msgr. John Michael Campbell celebrating. Interment will be at Ave Maria Cemetery in Churchtown.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Marietta Community Foundation, P.O. Box 77, or to The Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, 701 Colegate Drive, Marietta, Ohio 45750, or she would like nothing better for you to recycle or pull garlic mustard in her memory.

We could not have been blessed with a more caring and loving mother. She will be missed.

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