Some people have the incredible ability to turn grief into generosity. That is certainly the case with long-time Ranch donor, Marlys Lindgren, from Hutchinson, MN.
In the late 1960s, Marlys Lindgren's brother, Wallace, was in a fatal car accident. He had been living with Marlys and her husband and they were all quite close. She wanted to honor his memory by donating to a worthy charity, and that's when she discovered the work of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. She made her first donation, in Wallace's memory, in 1969, and has given to the Ranch every year since.
Her involvement with the Ranch started a lifetime of giving for Marlys—at age 85, she is full of energy and enthusiasm; and continues to give of her time, talents, and riches. She makes quilts for the Ranch and many other organizations, sews quilts for veterans, volunteers at the hospital gift shop, and serves dinners at the local senior center.
In addition to her Ranch family, Marlys and her husband, Henry, had two children of their own. He worked for a sewer and water contractor until his retirement in 1990. He died in 2013. She was a pioneer at 3M, where she worked for 31 years in traditionally male-dominated jobs.
"I held several different positions—mechanic, quality control inspector, and loading trucks," Marlys said. "For my last job, between the ages of 50 to 60, I loaded trucks. We made cassettes, scotch tape, filters, and things like that. Anything we made, I loaded on trucks. I enjoyed that job the most because I could be self-motivated and independent."
She is proud to say that two of her grandsons, and a son-in-law, have followed in her footsteps and now work at 3M.
Marlys has visited the Ranch's Fargo campus on several occasions, and said, "The Ranch does such a marvelous job for the kids. It's just so heartwarming to see that you are helping all these boys and girls, and that you inspire the kids to turn towards Christ."
She also attends the Ranch luncheon in Arizona each February, and is on the Arizona Steering Committee that plans the event. "I hear testimonies [of Ranch children] at the Arizona luncheon, and I know my money is doing wonders for the kids."
Marlys' lifelong commitment to the Ranch and her gratitude for the life she has been given led her to include the Ranch in her will.
"God has been very good to me. It's very important to live my life for God," Marlys said. "I try to be patient, kind and considerate with everyone. And I very much want the Ranch to have a portion of my estate."
This article was originally published in Ranch Voice: Summer 2018.
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