Obituary of Marlene Helen Stoll Riemer
On Wednesday, November 29, 2023, Marlene Helen Stoll Riemer, loving wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully at the age of 83. Born to Herman and Elsie Stoll, Marlene was raised in Seattle, WA, with her sister Trudie and brothers Walt and Fred. Her family owned the Stoll’s Madison Park Bakery, where at age 13 she began working and greeting every customer with a smile.
After graduating from Roosevelt High School and studying at the University of Washington, Marlene spent a year living with relatives in Germany before returning home and becoming a stewardess for Pan American Airways. It was on a flight from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she met the love of her life, George Donald Riemer. They were married in Seattle, WA, in 1966 and honeymooned in Vancouver, BC,,before starting their lives together in New Hyde Park, NY.
She left her career with Pan Am to start a family and was blessed with three children – Elsa, Eric and Ernie. As the story goes, she purchased “E Riemer” name tags to sew into Elsa’s clothes. When Eric and Ernie were born three and six years later, in her typical frugal fashion, she started both of their names with an “E” so that she could continue to use the tags.
Marlene and George moved frequently due to George’s corporate job, taking their family to Commack, NY; Richmond, VA; Weston, CT; and Milwaukee, WI. After George retired in 1996, they bought their dream home, “Sunset Hill,” in Santa Barbara, where they enjoyed a fulfilling retirement. Marlene’s sunny disposition and outgoing personality allowed her to make friends quickly wherever they moved, and Santa Barbara was no exception. Marlene became actively involved with the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, Assistance League, and La Cumbre Country Club. They also spent wonderful times with George’s sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and John Hartnett, who lived nearby in Santa Barbara.
A lifelong pianist, singer and musician, Marlene took up the saxophone after moving to Santa Barbara and played with the Prime Time band. Later, she learned the ukulele and became one of the original members of the Ukulele Lulus. Over the years, Marlene became dear friends with many of the Lulus, and she cherished the close relationships she had with friends from all her activities.
Marlene loved playing golf, taking walks on the beach, biking in Hope Ranch, singing in her church choir, and “putzing” around the yard at Sunset Hill. In her youth Marlene was a member of the ski patrol at Stevens Pass, WA, and she passed her love of skiing to her children by teaching them how to ski. The family enjoyed many ski trips to Vermont, Lake Tahoe, and Vail. As she always said, “Remember to keep your weight on the downhill ski.”
Marlene adored her seven grandchildren, and they in turn loved spending time with her – creating outlandish outfits from her costume bin, visiting “Grandma’s Beauty Salon,” and hula dancing while she played “Tiny Bubbles” on the ukulele during frequent family vacations in Kauai. She always had the grandkids laughing at the silly jokes she loved to tell. Marlene organized a Stoll family reunion in Seattle, WA, in 2015, which was attended by over 60 family members. As part of the reunion, she took her grandchildren on a tour of her favorite childhood places throughout Seattle. The tour ended at the family bakery with fresh maple bars for the grandkids.
Marlene is preceded in death by her husband George Donald Riemer and her sister Trudie Leiben. She is survived by her brothers Walt Stoll (Jacquie) and Fred Stoll (Nancy), daughter Elsa Riemer Abookire (David), sons Eric Riemer (Kristina) and Ernie Riemer (Megan), and grandchildren Sophia Riemer, Skylar Abookire, Kelsey Riemer, Jayden Abookire, George Riemer, Elsie Riemer and Hannah Riemer.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Cottage Hospital, VNA Hospice of Santa Barbara, Serenity House, the Golden West Chapter of the ALS Association, Trinity Lutheran Church, and the wonderful caregivers from The Key. And a heartfelt thanks to Marlene’s niece, Laura Leiben, for her unwavering dedication and positivity while caring for Marlene during the last two years. Donations in memory of Marlene may be sent to the Santa Barbara Foundation. The family will hold a celebration of life in the Spring.
Marlene made friends with everyone and had such a positive effect on the people she met — we call it “the Marlene effect.” One friend wrote, “I rejoice in the precious gift Marlene left each of us…love.” She was such a bright light in our lives and will be greatly missed. In memory of Marlene, let’s all have a “schluck” and watch the sunset.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marlene Riemer, please visit Tribute Store