Marilyn Harmsen

Marilyn Harmsen was born Nov. 1, 1936. She was the oldest of 10 children born to Ivan and Mildred Thomas. She attended school in Manassa, graduating from Manassa High School in 1954.

One of the highlights for her growing up in Manassa is that Marilyn was crowned Miss Pioneer in Manassa in 1953. She happily shared that distinction with her daughter, Nicole, who was Miss Pioneer in 1989.

While a teenager at a youth conference Marilyn picked up a small rock and threw it at her friend who was fixing a volleyball net with his back to her. The person who turned around was not her friend, but was Denny Harmsen and he must have been impressed because he asked her out. It was the beginning of their love story.

Marilyn attended college at BYU in Provo, Utah one of the years her fiancé, Denny Harmsen, served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the South American countries of Uruguay and Paraguay. As soon as he returned, they were married for time and all eternity on July 3, 1957, in the Mesa, Ariz., Temple.

Denny and Marilyn had seven children and settled in Manassa. While Denny attended college and then taught school, Marilyn worked for a time at Public Service Company in La Jara, and dedicated herself to being a homemaker and raising their children and helping Denny operate the ranch he loved so much in nearby Bountiful.

Marilyn was very dedicated to helping in the church and the community. She served in many church callings including primary, teaching early morning seminary for 11 years, playing the organ in church, and serving in Relief Society presidencies at the ward and stake levels.

She really enjoyed cooking and feeding others. She shared her cooking and sewing skills by teaching 4-H cooking and sewing to young women for several consecutive summers. Marilyn also loved music and shared her love with others through teaching piano lessons to many young people in Manassa. 

Marilyn’s world was turned upside down in 1980 with the untimely death of her husband and sweetheart, Denny. She was only 43 years old and had young children still at home. After his death she went back to college at Adams State and gained degrees in English Education and Accounting. After graduation she was hired to teach English at Sanford High School.  She taught there from the fall of 1985 until her retirement in 2005. She loved her students and enjoyed working with them. She directed 43 student plays during her time at SHS.  She was always proud of the Indians both Adams State and Sanford.

Marilyn loved people and loved visiting with them. She would spend much of her time listening to and telling stories. She loved the Gospel and studied it faithfully, encouraging all around her to do the same.

Marilyn passed away on Feb. 17, 2023, in Lehi, Utah.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, Denny, her parents, Ivan and Mildred Thomas, and two siblings, John Thomas and Elaine Strunk, and her brother and sister-in-law Sam and Connie Mayfield, and her mother-in-law and father-in-law Chris and Laura Harmsen. She is survived by her children, Shauna (Loren) Mortensen of Sanford, Colo.; Rima (Robert) Westbrook of The Colony, Texas; Scott Harmsen of Ozona, Texas; Keith (Ann) Harmsen of Dublin, Texas; Glenn (Phyllis) Harmsen of Manassa, Colo.; Nicole (Craig) Hurley of League City, Texas, and Malinda (Jess) Anderson of Eagle Mountain, Utah; 29 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren, as well as seven siblings, Lee Thomas, Joe Thomas, Vaughn Thomas, Gail Thomas, Charles Thomas, Donna Pavlovsky, and Dianne Hostetter.  

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at the Manassa Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rogers Family Mortuary in Manassa on Thursday evening Feb. 23, 2023 ,and prior to the service on Friday from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at the church. To express condolences and to view a tribute video, please visit

Funeral arrangements by Rogers Family Mortuary.