Marilyn Fortnum Briese, age 93, of Ripon, passed away on Friday, June 6, 2014, at Ripon Medical Center with her family by her side.
Marilyn was born May 18, 1921, in Ripon, the daughter of Albert “Bert” and Myrtie (Bazeley) Fortnum. She graduated from Ripon High School in 1939 and cum laude from Ripon College in 1943. During her college years she was active in Professor Boody’s Mask and Wig Plays and was a member of “Skipper” Chamberlain’s choir. She was a member of Delta Phi Sigma sorority and in later years, Marilyn joined Kappa Delta also.
Marilyn taught High School English in Augusta, Wis., where she coached forensics and directed class plays for two years. After attending summer school at the University of Wis. in Madison, she was offered a teaching position in Ripon and she wanted to return to her home town. She taught 8th and 9th grade English, started the forensic program in the Junior High and coached the Senior High program.
She married Blaine “Bud” Briese on Aug. 10, 1946, in the First Congregational Church. They opened The Spot Restaurant in September of 1950. In later years it was known as The Spot Supper Club. Bud died in June of 1987 and Marilyn continued to run the business until 1990 when it was sold.
Bud and Marilyn had four children: Bonnie, Robert “Bob”, Barbie and Bert. Over the years Marilyn was a member of A.A.U. US., Order of the Eastern Star, Tuscumbia Ladies Golf Association, Friends of the Library, Ripon Historical Society and past president of the Ripon Women’s Club.
Marilyn was a long time member of the First Congregational Church UCC where she had served as Moderator, Released Time Teacher, past president of Women’s Fellowship, representative of Church Women United and on the Music Committee. She enjoyed volunteering in her community. She had served as a Red Cross volunteer at the Ripon Hospital, served two terms on the United Way Board, was an Art Presenter in the elementary schools, member of the Reading Program at Roosevelt School and served as a judge during forensic contest at the High School.
After graduation from Ripon College, she was her class agent for many years, served two terms on the college Alumni Board and was honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1979. Marilyn loved to play bridge! She had belonged to two bridge clubs for over fifty years, and had played in many foursomes.
Survivors include two daughters, Bonnie Turney and Barbie (Todd) Splittgaber both of Ripon; two sons, Bob Briese (Tila) of Mequon, Bert (Amy) Briese of Ripon; grandchildren, Marcie (Val) Turney, Evan (Carla) Turney of Philadelphia, Pa., Adam, Cody and Kallin Splittgaber of Ripon, Marina and Ethan Baumann of Mequon, Tyler and Amber Briese of Ripon; one great-grandchild, Baby Turney to be born in October; three nieces, Nancy Terry, Deborah Fewell and Mary Ellen Biebel; and three nephews, Philip Haensgen, Paul “Pete” Utter and Tom Utter. Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Blaine “Bud” Briese; two sisters, Vilo Utter and Ferne Haensgen; two brothers, Nyle and Floyd Fortnum; two sisters-in-law, Betty Durant and Elaine Briese; and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation for Marilyn will be held on Monday, June 30 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at First Congregational Church UCC, 220 Ransom Street, Ripon.
Celebration of Marilyn’s life will be held Monday, June 30 at 11:30 a.m. at First Congregational Church UCC in Ripon. The Rev. Joanna D’Agostino will officiate. Inurnment will take place at Green Lake Center Cemetery in the Town of Green Lake. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to First Congregational Church, UCC – Reach Campaign, 220 Ransom Street, Ripon, WI 54971; or to the Ripon College Chamber Music Program, PO Box 248, Ripon, WI 54971.
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