Sept. 18, 1925 — Sept. 15, 2020
OELWEIN — Marilyn Gallo, 94, of Oelwein, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Public visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home in Oelwein. Private funeral mass will be 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oelwein, and will be limited to family. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery at Oelwein. For condolences, please visit www.geilenfeldfh.com. Due to state and federal guidelines on gatherings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is required. Those in attendance are required to wear a mask.
Marilyn Gallo lived a full life. Intelligent, well-traveled, intellectually curious, highly educated, a voracious reader, and caring. Marilyn made a positive mark on many.
We, her children, consider ourselves lucky and proud to call her “Mom.” Our dad, Vic Gallo, was fortunate to call Marilyn his wife for more than 50 years.
To many in Oelwein, Marilyn was a favorite teacher, a good friend, an involved citizen, an active member of her church, and a gifted writer. One could not accompany her downtown without slotting time for chats with her many friends. She was a gem!
Marilyn Louise Miller was born on Sept. 18, 1925 in Sumner, Iowa to Adolph and Helen Miller. She earned a BA in Journalism at the University of Iowa. Marilyn’s professional life was that of a writer. It shaped her life. Around Oelwein, Marilyn was best-known as Mrs. Gallo. For more than 25 years, she taught writing. Hundreds of Oelwein High School students benefited from her steady hand and tutelage. She loved teaching, and her students loved her. Teaching, however, was not her first calling. It was Journalism.
Marilyn started in the newspaper business as a cub reporter at the Oelwein Daily Register, where Marilyn met our dad, Vic Gallo, who was a sportswriter. The two were very different. Vic was gregarious, outgoing, and unafraid to state his opinion. Marilyn was none of that. She was more reserved, disliked the spotlight, and generally kept her opinions to herself. Still, they forged a functional, loving, lasting partnership.
Shortly thereafter, they migrated to Strawberry Point and bought an excellent small town weekly, The Press Journal. They did it all, from running the press to selling ads, to writing copy. Marilyn’s weekly column, “Strawberries ‘n Cream,” won many state writing awards. Once, a fan of the column sent her a strawberry plate, in honor of those awards. That became the seed for her passion for all things strawberry.
Vic and Marilyn had six children, Kathy, Tom, Mary, Matt, and Joe. In 1966 the Gallos sold the paper and moved to Des Moines, where they lived for seven eventful years. Marilyn taught at St. Joseph’s Academy while in Des Moines.
Predictably, Marilyn didn’t use a rocking chair in her retirement. Instead, she traveled all over the world, and read, read, read. She was a local volunteer and continued to write. In addition to her frequent letters and e-mails to family and friends, Marilyn became active in the Oelwein Writers League. Occasionally, her work appears in the Oelwein Daily Register, but mostly she wrote to stay agile. She also loved politics. She loved Rachel Maddow, and will be VERY sorry to miss this election!
Marilyn has slowed down some in her 94th year, but remained remarkable to the very end. We were blessed and honored to call her our mom. We will treasure her memory always.