Marjorie Cressie Anderson Nurnberg, 96, longtime resident of Arispe, died at home Sunday morning, Sept. 13, 2020. Given the social constraints of COVID-19 and Marjorie’s preference to “go gently into this good night” without fanfare, the family will hold no in-person or virtual public visitation or celebration services at this time, however they are happy to receive notes or calls.
At a later date, the family plans a private internment for Marjorie and Ken’s cremains at their beloved “Ber-Mart.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials for Marjorie Nurnberg be made to the family for the Arispe Park Fund at P.O. Box 305, Arispe, IA 50831. They are planning to contribute a piece of public sculpture there.
Marjorie was born on the family farm in Ringgold County, 3.5 miles southwest of Shannon City, Monday, Jan. 28, 1924, the youngest of five children born to Bertha Ethel Roberston Anderson and James “Martin” Anderson. She was named in honor of her maternal Aunt Cressie.
Marjorie’s first 10 years of childhood were spent playing in and around Indian Creek and West Grand River that ran through their farms in Grant Township. She was surrounded by an extended family of Scots and Scot-Irish family members on both sides.
In 1934, the family seized the opportunity to improve their lot by moving to Bertha’s family farm that had richer, fecund soil located 2.5 miles south of Arispe. Here she met neighbor — and soon to be — life-long best friend Carol Brock (Cheers-Pugh). As girls growing up during the Great Depression, they spent countless hours meeting midway, at “the top of the hill” between their two homes.
Marjorie had one of the few bicycles in that farming neighborhood and she and Carol rode countless miles and hours, taking turns with one seated and peddling whilst the other sat on the handlebars. They also mastered “Pig-Latin,” to safeguard and confound any potential eavesdroppers who might be listening to their private conversations on their phones’ party-line.
Marjorie’s 5th through 12th grade years at Arispe Consolidated Schools were filled with memorable activities – Marjorie played violin in the grade school orchestra. In high school, she took-up guitar and she and her sister Vivian were known at community singing events for their duets. She sang solos and with various vocal groups, preformed in operettas, school plays and took part in declamatory contests – although live performances always gave her butterflies.
She graduated high school in 1941 at age 17, attended Iowa State Teachers College (now U.N.I.) one term before working at Younker’s Tearoom in Des Moines, and was persuaded by Ken Nurnberg, her high school sweetheart, to elope to the manse in Tarkio, Missouri, where they married July 18, 1942.
The couple moved first to Covington, Kentucky, then to Wichita, Kansas, where Marjorie worked for a pharmaceutical company followed by a move to Granger, Washington. At the end of World War II, where she worked for the Granger Bait and Tackle Co. making fishing flies and lures. She and Ken moved back to Iowa in 1947 in anticipation of their first child, Ralph, who arrived April 14, 1948, followed by Saundra in 1950, Karla in 1954 and a new house addition and Ron in 1959.
Once the kids were raised, Marjorie worked at Afton Care Center until her retirement. She spent her retirement gardening, caring for grandchildren and taking trips with Ken, her beloved sister Verna and brother-in-law Ralph. Together, she and Ken continued stewarding Ber-Mart Acres, her family’s century farm in Jefferson Township, Ringgold County, where they frequently picnicked and entertained family, grandkids and community members.
Throughout her life, Marjorie prioritized family and neighborliness, instilled confidence, thrift, independence and education in her children. She taught Sunday school and at Vacation Bible School. She personally delighted in music, poetry and the domestic and creative arts such as letter and card writing, sewing and tailoring, cooking, canning and baking. She was a member of Arispe’s Stitch and Chatter Club. She had a “green thumb,” annually yielded the bounty of her annual vegetable and fruit garden and cherished her many flowers.
She kept a well-appointed, tidy, highly organized home – everything had its place, was labeled and the family jokingly said, “she probably even has a box labeled “string too short to save.”
She was known for her thoughtful openness, optimism, positivity and unending kindnesses. Who among us didn’t feel heartened and a bit more special when we received one of her many hand-written notes, a Swedish tea-ring, a pie, or one of her beautifully decorated cakes?
Marjorie leaves to cherish her memory; four children: Ralph Martin (Bonnie) Nurnberg of Alma, Nebraska, Saundra Kay (Richard) Harney of Maryville, Missouri, Karla Anne (Jon, deceased) Kerr of Altoona, Ronald Dean (Joe L. Osgoode) Nurnberg of Oxford, Miss.; seven grandchildren: Seth (Lauren) Kerr, NyEela Harney, Latisha Harney (Jordan) Alsys, Kylene Harney (Shaun) Defenbaugh, Nichole Miller (Doug) Bierle, Shawna Nurnberg (Brett) Hammond, Brittnay Nurnberg (significant other Randy Hechinlively); 10 great-grandchildren: Oliver and Colt Defenbaugh, Olive, Vivian and Finn Madden, Thor and Aida Alsys, Dalten, Payten and Hennessie Bierle; along with many well regarded nieces, nephews and their respective families on both sides of the family.
She was preceded in death by her spouse and partner of over 77 years, Kenneth Ormond Nurnberg, her parents Bertha and Martin Anderson, her siblings: Martin “Wayne” Anderson, Verna Ruth Anderson Coleman, Dorothy Faye Anderson Reynolds, Mable “Vivian” Anderson Burgmaier and all respective in-laws. Also in keeping with the serendipitous patterns that marked her life, Marjorie passed on the 137th anniversary of her maternal Aunt Sadie’s birthday.
The family wishes to express thanks to Marilyn and Frank Eighme, Marsha and Terry Cheers, Sandy and Mike Rollings, Patty and Denny Wimmer for their many kind acts and to all the generations of former and current Arispe friends and wonderful neighbors who have continued to stop by, check-in, or remain just a phone call away.