Marlene Joyce Husbands

In the farming community of Minot, North Dakota, Oct. 10, 1933, was a very pleasant day. On this day, Marlene Joyce was born to Oscar and Jenny Sundt. This would be their only child. In 1938, the Sundt family, looking and hoping for a better life, moved to Richmond, California. Marlene attended Grant School, Longfellow middle school, and graduated from Richmond High.

Marlene was an excellent scholar and enjoyed her classes. She also learned to play the piano with a talent that made her skills sought after for school programs.

After graduation from Richmond High, Marlene enrolled in Contra Costa Junior College to satisfy classes for the nursing program that she was pursuing. At that time, the college was operating in the old WWII shipyards in Richmond. During her time at that school, while playing badminton, she met Don Husbands, the man that she would later marry and spend the rest of her life with.

After graduation from Contra Costa Jr. College, Marlene enrolled in Franklin School of Nursing in San Francisco in 1952. At one point in her studies in nursing, Marlene was assigned to study communicable diseases. While taking this class, she contracted polio. This happened just before her 21st birthday in 1954.

For many years polio had been a dreaded and frightening disease that occurred every year in the summertime. It affected mostly young people up through the teens and early twenties. Those that did not die from the disease were greatly affected by loss of muscle use and many were put into a machine called an “Iron Lung,” which aided their breathing and kept them alive. Many never came out of the “Lungs.”

When the disease passed, Marlene had lost the use of her right arm and hand. Other parts of her body were weakened. The rehabilitation program was long and painful, but at the end of that extensive program Marlene could stand, walk and enter into society on a limited basis.

In the following years, Marlene married Don on March 1, 1957, and continued to study with the goal of becoming a nurse. She had been told by her doctor that she could not have children because of the polio that weakened her muscles. She and Don had a fine young son, Mark, and believing that proved her point, decided not to have anymore children.

Marlene continued her “normal life” by being a mother, wife and part-time care nurse in doctors’ offices. In 1989, Marlene graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Chapman University. She then got a job as a Registered Nurse at a hospital in Pinole, California. After a few years, Marlene became the night nurse supervisor for the hospital.

Marlene worked in that capacity for several years and then left to work at her husband’s business. In 2000, Marlene retired and spent her time being a wife and lady of leisure. For several years she hosted a group of ladies called the “Hardanger Stitchers” at her home. The ladies would gather and work out the details of hardanger, which is a form of Nordic embroidery.

The years continued and Marlene’s strength faded to a point that would no longer let her continue hosting the great and fun-filled endeavor. The last few years of her life were quiet, peaceful and slow.

On Sunday morning, Sept. 10th at 8:55 a.m., Marlene passed away. She was tired and laid down to rest – perhaps to take a nap. While sleeping and perhaps dreaming of earlier days, the Lord whispered in her ear, “Come home.” This ended her earthly journey as she left and rejoined the loved ones that had gone before. Marlene waits now with her loved ones for us, who will one day join her.

Don Husbands, September, 2017

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You can find the complete original obituary on this website.

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