Marlene Worzella, 71

Marlene Worzella, 71 A worship service celebrating eternal life for Marlene Worzella will be held on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, at 2 p.m., visitation at noon at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 1350 Highway 175, Richfield, WI. She died from ovarian cancer on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The family will receive guests at a luncheon following the service.

Marlene was born in Wisconsin Rapids on Feb. 13, 1946, into the family of John and Edna (nee Albert) Bulgrin. She graduated from Auburndale High School in 1964, University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1968 with an education degree and in 1969 with a guidance and counseling Master’s of Science.

After an eight-year courtship, she married her teenage sweetheart, Chet, on July 26, 1969. Marlene worked at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 1969 to 1971 and taught at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis from 1971 to 1978. Together with her husband, they founded Worzella Photography in Mequon and worked as a team in this business until 2006. Serving and helping clients prepare for their portraits was a joy for her.

Faith, family and friends encompassed her life. Marlene dearly loved her children and family. CJ, her grandson, stole her heart. Her home was a gathering place for many, including international students hosted from Australia, Indonesia and India. They became a part of her family. “On a moment’s notice she would invite my friends in for dinner. That made all the difference to me,” noted one student. Her gracious and gentle manner made holidays and gatherings in her home joy-filled. Hospitality and encouragement were her gifts.

Marlene was active in professional, business and community organizations. She was a proponent of women in business through her leadership in FOCUS. Having a concern for domestic violence she served on the board of directors of Advocates. During her life she was involved with many church ministries, Bible studies, Haiti work missions, adult-child mentoring, worship arts and Apples of Gold. She was a member of Women Emerging (WE) and Woman of Wisdom (WOW). With her caring, outgoing personality, she had a wide circle of friends. To them she was an encourager, a trusted confidante and an eternal optimist. If you asked Marlene, “How are you?” she would reply “I’m grateful” or “I’m blessed.” She lived life with gratitude and joy and will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved her.

In 2005, with her husband Chet, they joined the Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MMAP), and traveled the country in their motor home, building churches and being a part of Christian work projects at facilities nationwide. In traveling God’s creation and in serving the Lord they found purpose and fulfillment.

Marlene’s beloved husband of 43 years, Chet, preceded her in death in 2012. Surrounding her with love was: her daughter Brook Worzella-Best and grandson, Chet “C.J.” Best; son Blair Worzella; siblings Kathy (Gene) Klasinski, Donna (Dale) Altmann and John (Debbie) Bulgrin; Goddaughter Dawn Kirchner; prayer partner Sarah Leurquin; plus many other family members and friends.

Marlene battled three cancers (colon, chondrosarcoma of the cricoid cartilage and ovarian) during her lifetime. She never asked ‘why me?‘ but rather made the best of life’s situations. She had heartfelt thankfulness for medical personnel for their exceptional care and support.

In lieu of flowers, you may make memorials (if desired) to Simple Hope (Tanzania mission) at Shepherd of the Hills Church or Hope Missions Outreach (Haiti mission), P.O. Box 73, Bethany, MO 64424. Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home in Mequon is serving the family. Online condolences may be left at