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1950 Marlyn 2024

Marlyn Riley

March 28, 1950 — March 16, 2024

Fergus Falls

Marlyn Anthony Riley passed away Saturday, March 16, 2024, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

 Marlyn was born on March 28, 1950, as the youngest child of Edward and Harriet Riley, joining his brothers Merle and Myron on the family farm outside of Donnelly, MN. He attended elementary school in Donnelly and high school in Morris, MN, graduating in 1968. Marlyn began dating Debbie Churchill during the summer of 1967, after being set up on a blind date. They united in marriage on April 17, 1971.  Born to Marlyn and Debbie were five children: Ryan, Aaron, Christine, Patrick and Michael.

Marlyn was a man of many talents. After serving in the National Guard, he was the store manager of a Holiday Gas station in Alexandria, MN. There, he managed to force a shutdown of the entire store by mixing chemicals which created a dangerous gas cloud. Shortly after, Marlyn and Debbie moved to Herman, MN.   There, he worked at the local grain elevator, where he was an award-winning seed salesman. Seeing he was a man of great skill, he was recruited to join the Herman Police Department where he rose to the rank of Chief of Police, overseeing a police force of two. During this time, he helped establish the Herman Rescue Squad, with the help of his friend PA. After the Herman Police Department was disbanded, Marlyn began working as a Grant County Deputy Sheriff. While he could have been compared to the Dark Knight, roaming the streets of Grant County protecting its citizens, he also held the record for the number of times his squad car was stolen, not only by criminals, but his own kids. Marlyn had a knack for finding the perfect hiding spot for his squad car and while everyone thought he did that because he wanted to catch someone breaking the law, the truth is he was napping. No one napped better than Marlyn. If napping was an Olympic sport, Marlyn would have been a gold-medal winner a thousand times over. He never went a day, or a shift on duty, without a nap. Sadly, after 29 years working in law enforcement, Grant County lost their protector when he was forced to retire due to a heart attack.

In his spare time, Marlyn loved to wood-work and operated Shamrock Woods out of his shed, which he continued to do until his passing. His creations can be found in all of our homes and we will always cherish them. He was famous for his diet of chicken jelly sandwiches, hamburgers dipped in chocolate milk, and ice cream. He loved to sit and tell us all about his adventures in law enforcement and that is something that we will miss dearly.

Marlyn is survived by his sons Aaron (Cathy) of Chandler, AZ and Patrick (Kirsten) of Litchfield, MN; his daughter Christine (John) of Mapleton, ND; daughter in law Beth (Chad) of Hibbing, MN; grandchildren Madelyn, Lizzy, Gwen, Bernice, Hank, David, Nicole, Mollie, Charlie, Braylon, Isaiah, and Haley; great grandchildren Ollie and Ellie, and the entire Churchill family. He is proceeded in death by his wife Debbie, sons Ryan and Michael, parents Edward and Harriet, and brothers Merle and Myron.

A Family-run Celebration of Life will take place on March 23, 2024, at the Herman Community Center from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Please come celebrate the life of Marlyn, with a coffee and a bite to eat.

Arrangements assisted by Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes

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