Lyn (Marilyn Schlise) Derusha
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:00 AM
Lyn (Marilyn Schlise) Derusha, 82, of Menominee Mich., gracefully passed away in March 2017. She was born in 1934, in the village of Forestville, Wisconsin, at home.
Lyn was passionate about life and filled it with education, art, culture, human resources, agriculture, and adventure. She lived a life well lived by helping the community. Her brother Tony taught her how to drive a tractor at the age of five. She worked in her father and mothers’ orchard picking cherries during the summer and exclaimed she never had a summer off. During high school she started the Jolly Art Club. Her older sister, Joni, entered her in beauty contests and Lyn enjoyed being Queen of St Norbert College of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and first runner up for Miss Dairyland. She also was on homecoming court and a cheerleader in Algoma, Wisconsin. She attended Barry College (University) and graduated with a teaching degree in art. Later she worked as a draftsperson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In 1957, Lyn married the love of her life, Roger Derusha, of Menekaunee (Marinette), Wisconsin, and had six children. They resided in Menominee, Michigan, near the lighthouse. She thought that Menominee was the most beautiful place to live. She was caring, warm, generous, and made people feel special. Nature was important to her and she loved planting flowers and gardens with her children. She played the piano for her family and tapped danced in the kitchen. She taught many how to dance. She enjoyed entertaining her many relatives and friends in her home. Her sisters, Janet and Joni, and children, would come for Thanksgiving. Lyn would connect the folding tables through the rooms in her house to include everyone at one table. Sometimes her only brother, a World War II pilot, would fly over with his family from Door County. Lyn would yell to everyone in her house, “I think I hear him coming! Lets all run outside!” We’d all run outside and wave, as he would tip his wing over our house. She loved her family and her community. One summer she took in her elderly, ill neighbor, Al Block, whose wife had recently died. Her compassion inspired many.
Lyn was an advocate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her eldest son, David Andre, 6 years old, and close family friend, Thomas Caley, were killed by a drunk driver. Her husband, Roger, and two younger sons survived the accident. As they became more informed about alcoholism they decided to live an alcohol free life. They shared their awareness about alcoholism as a disease with local organizations. Lyn also organized a fund for alcohol and other drugs awareness programs at the University of Wisconsin, Marinette. She also supported the Marinette Rainbow House, a shelter for people who suffer from domestic violence. She felt very honored to christen the United States Navy APL-65 Barracks craft built by Marinette Marine Corporation, stationed in San Diego, California. Lyn saw many ships launched at MMC and she and Roger hosted many people from around the world.
Lyn’s creativity encompassed the community of Menominee. When her children were in grade school she would dress up as a witch at Halloween and visit the local schools, warning them not to eat things that might be dangerous. Lyn enjoyed making colorful original posters for different organizations. She would visit a nursing home in the neighborhood and give free art lessons. She was on the board of Artworks, a local, state funded art co-op that taught photography, art, sculpting, and pottery. When her children left high school she visited the school and asked how she could help, and the counseling center suggested she could help troubled students. She opened her house to many students, local and foreign. She loved our local Menominee Public Library and created an annual art show called the Beauty of Menominee, Marinette, and Peshtigo Area. She enjoyed keeping up with the times and was always on the lookout for a new book to buy for the library. Lyn supported many individuals’ dreams. Later she developed a character called the art bag lady and visited grade school children to share prints by famous artists.
Lyn loved painting with watercolors. She regularly opened her home to anyone who wanted to learn how to paint. She had a lyrical rhythmic line in drawing, calligraphy, and a strong understanding of color mixing.
Lyn enjoyed exercising at the YMCA and Jazzercise. She and her good friend Marian Stillman enjoyed exercising together and walked out to the lighthouse every morning with a garbage bag and collected strewn wrappers. Lyn enjoyed many clubs. When Lyn first arrived in Menominee, she studied China with a small local group. Later she was invited to join the Menominee Women’s Club. She started an art club at the Menominee High School and organized a Keith Haring fan club. She was a member of the Menominee Area Arts Council and a local writing group where she wrote poems. Lyn painted for over 25 years as a founding member of the Thalo Group. Lyn and Roger, with other community members, started the Menominee Marinette Area Community Foundation. They were excited about the foundations possibilities in fulfilling people’s dreams. Throughout the years Lyn and Roger enjoyed sailing on Green Bay. They traveled in the winter throughout the United States and Europe in a motor home, photographing and filming the natural beauty, visiting art museums and music festivals. Marilyn never had anything bad to say about anyone.
Marilyn Derusha is survived by her children: Mary Derusha, Mike Derusha, Dean (Christine) Derusha, Lori (Jeffery) Derusha, and Debra Derusha; four grandchildren; and her sister Janet Doxtater.
We look forward in the future to sharing an exhibition of drawings, paintings, and photography by Lyn Derusha at the Spies Public Library Art Gallery in Menominee, Mich.
We praise the lord for loving our dear mother and we thank all of you who loved her too.