Langevin • El Paraiso Funeral Home
Marlene Jean Girard (Rukkila), 78, of Yakima, Washington passed away at home on July 4, 2019, peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family.
Marlene was born in Trenary, Michigan on January 24, 1941. She moved to Washington in the mid-50s and graduated from R.A. Long High School in Longview in 1959. She married her husband of 53 years, Thomas L. Girard, Sr., in 1961 in Kelso, WA. Most of her happy years were spent there where she lived and raised her family until she moved to Yakima in recent years. Marlene was a proud Finn who was glad to say that she grew up in a log cabin that was hand built by her family in Michigan. She loved to say how she and her seven brothers and sisters shared one room, washed their clothes by hand, and made their own Halloween costumes.
Marlene had a kind heart and a loving soul, but was also tough as nails. Even through medical challenges, she never stopped doing whatever she wanted. She always wore a smile on her face and was always ready for a good laugh that left her with tears rolling down her cheeks. Her laughter was infectious and was a gift that she passed on to her children. Marlene loved looking good and could always be found with a great haircut and dressed to impress. She loved her family dearly and proved that by never missing the birth of her grandchildren, birthday parties, holiday get togethers, sporting events, keeping an immaculate house, and by never failing to cook a home cooked meal. Marlene was a lifelong viewer of Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives. She enjoyed country music and her favorites were The Kendalls, Patsy Cline, Alan Jackson, and Willie Nelson. In her earlier years, she enjoyed making dresses for her daughters, adored crocheting and supporting Kelso Little League, Babe Ruth and girls’ softball programs. She was also a member of the Kelso Elks Lodge and the American Legion where she spent time with her husband and friends.
Marlene leaves behind seven children: Denise Skye, Teresa Hammar, Michelle Liebmann (Todd), Thomas Girard, Jr. (Jolene), Kathleen Labrum (David), Rebecca Casiano (Paul), and Jennifer Francis (Raymond), 25 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren on the way. She was preceded in death by her parents Jalmer and Tyne (Savola) Rukkila, her sister Elaine Sams, her brother Richard Rukkila, her son-in-law Harry Hammar, her granddaughter Jessica Windisch, and her loving husband of 53 years, Thomas Girard, Sr.
Her family would like to show their appreciation to her children Kathy, Shelly, and Terri for caring for Marlene and providing for her every need in the last years of her life. Their love and support granted Marlene her wish to always be with family at home after the passing of her husband. The family gives them and everyone else who cared for Marlene their greatest and warmest gratitude and love.
Memorial services will be held on July 12, 2019 at 1 pm at Langevin El Paraiso Funeral Home in Yakima, WA with a celebration to follow.