John Marlin

John Henry Marlin, Jr., age 97, of Albia, Iowa, passed away on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at MercyOne in Des Moines, IA.

John was born on August 14, 1925, in Bussey, IA, to John Henry Sr. and Mildred Victoria (Spaur) Marlin.  He attended a one room country school near Bussey moving to Albia when he was ten.  He attended JR/SR High at Albia High School, graduating with the Class of 1942.  On December 22, 1945, he married Lelah Mae McDanel from Moravia at the United Brethren Church Parsonage in Albia.  To this union, 4 children were born:  Thomas, Terri, Victoria “Vicci”, and Steven.  John and Lelah shared 73 years of marriage prior to Lelah’s passing.   

 John worked on the farm with his father and worked in Albia selling Barnsall gasoline, then Skelly gasoline, Willy’s cars, and eventually Allis-Chalmers tractors, balers, and combines.  The business name went from Marlin’s Super Service to Marlin & Son Implements.  John did the accounting/mechanical work while his father sold Allis-Chalmers products and fished.  After his father sold the business, John worked at the Albia Auto for Kenny Brewer as a salesman/mechanic/accountant.  He then became a jack of all trades:  laying carpet, mowing lawns, fixing and repairing where needed.  John just needed to stay busy.

John was very active in the United Brethren Church, now Trinity United Methodist Church, serving as Financial Secretary for over 35 years, Treasurer of his Sunday school class Trinity Builders for many years, and later on the Board of Trustees.  He was also a member of Rotary Club and Astor Lodge 505.

John had a green thumb and could grow anything (especially roses).  He loved watching and feeding the birds, rabbits, and squirrels.  He loved camaraderie and the competition of playing cards, especially at the Senior Center in town.  As his granddaughter said, “Bet he and Grandma are in Heaven playing cards right now.”  He especially loved Canasta.   He also loved his 1929 Ford Model A Tudor, which you could see him driving in parades.

John and Lelah wintered in Weslaco, TX, for 18 years where John pedaled on his 3 wheel bicycle, delivering the mail along with a rose to family and friends.  They enjoyed playing shuffleboard there and participating in a bowling league.  They enjoyed traveling, sightseeing, and just being with friends.

John is survived by 2 children: Terri Lee (Steven) Kelly and Steven Eugene (Carol) Marlin; grandchildren:  John (Ligita) Ragan, Sharon (Chris) Dickensen, Victoria Pae, Heather (Shawn) Etcher, Christopher Marlin, Brian (Krystal) Kelly, Eric (Angela) Kelly, Shannon (Jason) Krueger, Elizabeth (Brandon) Hennefer, Rachel (Jason) Cross, Sarah (Jim) Oman, James Ferreter, and Jennifer Ferreter; 27 great grandchildren; and 1 great-great grandchild.  John is also survived by his sisters, Joan (Larry) Beary, Kay (Larry) DeVoss; brothers, Wayne (Candy) Marlin and Don (Jeany) Marlin; sons-in-law, Bill (Mary) Ferreter, Reg (Diana) Hughell; and several nieces and nephews.    

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lelah Mae; a son, Thomas Allen, in infancy; a daughter, Victoria Lynn “Vicci” Ferreter; his parents, John Sr. and Mildred Marlin; and his sisters, Darlene (Lawrence) Amoss, Hazel (Jim) Baker, and Jayne (Reg) Hughell.

Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at the Tharp Funeral Home in Albia, with John’s family present from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. to greet family and friends.  Masonic Rites will be held at 7:00 p.m., led by Astor Lodge #505 of Albia.

 Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Albia, with Pastor Roger Henry officiating.  Burial will follow services at Oak View Cemetery in Albia.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Kings Kids, TUMC, as John loved to pass out $2 bills to all the children he met.           

Condolences and memories to the family may be left online at

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