Marian Jean Burling
Marian J. Nickelson Burling left us on January 4, 2024 to begin her next great adventure with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was 96 years of age and was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Blaine and Vera Randall. She graduated from Sioux Falls Washington High School in 1945. She worked for the South Dakota Crop and Livestock Administration for three years and married Don Nickelson in 1948.
Don and Marian lived on a family ranch in Aladdin, Wyoming, starting their family and then moved to Belle Fourche, South Dakota until 1978. They had four children, Nancy Nickelson Phillips, Sheridan, WY, Dale Nickelson (Karla), Lake City, FL, Richard Nickelson, Fort Collins, CO and Larry Nickelson (Kathy), Rapid City, SD.
Marian was organist at the Lutheran Church for many years, a member of P.E.O. and was South Dakota Mother of the Year in 1975 and runner up for the national title.
She went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD in 1978 and graduated with a degree in Political Science. At the same time she was elected to the National Board of the American Lutheran Church for the Division for Life and Ministry in the Congregation for eight years. She was the first woman to chair a national board in the ALC. She spent her summers going to El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico during turbulent times in the early eighties and gave speeches to ALC congregations.
The president of the ALC sent her as a delegate to a conference in Thailand which took her to the mission fields in India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Nepal, Hong Kong, China , Japan, and South Africa.
She became a deacon in the American Lutheran Church and worked with Rev. Charles Berdahl at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames, IA for four years.
She attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was given a scholarship to go to Vanderbilt Divinity School preparing to become a pastor but after one year the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offered her a job as a lobbyist for women, children and poverty in Washington, D.C. where she worked from age 60 to 70 and then retired.
She married Irving Burling in 1998. They lived in Sun Lakes, Arizona, for ten years and then moved to Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls, SD. Irv died in 2015. Marian moved to Cascades Assisted Living, close to her daughter in Sheridan, WY in 2019 remaining there until her death.
Grateful to have shared her life are her children Nancy, Dale (Karla), Richard and Larry (Kathy), her step children Dan (Beth Reilly) Burling, Bloomington, MN and Kris Burling, Arizona, her thirteen Grandchildren: Blaine, Ben, Taylor, Tim, Katey, Aaron, Scott, Mark, Mike, Rachel, Isaac, Matthew, Aubrey , her step-grandchildren Derek and Jeremy and her thirty two Great Grandchildren.
A Celebration Of Life will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2024 at 2:00 pm at Kane Funeral Home with a reception to follow.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.