MISSOULA — Marleen Apple Bain, of Missoula, passed away Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, at St. Patrick Hospital after a brief illness, surrounded by her loving family. Her family is deeply grateful to the doctors and nurses at the Missoula Infusion Center.
Marleen was born in Canton, Ohio, on March 20, 1943, to Helen Weidman and Harvey Apple. She grew up in Middletown, Ohio, near the family farm of her grandfather, Valentine Apple, which was located in Franklin County. Marleen was proud of her German and Swiss ancestry, and delighted in sharing genealogical and historical research with her family.
Marleen called her childhood idyllic. She grew up taking piano and voice lessons and became an accomplished pianist and beautiful singer performing solos and playing piano in churches throughout the area. Visits to her cousin’s house on Congress Lake and summers at the neighborhood Sunset Memorial Swimming Pool filled her young days. She remained in contact with a number of her friends from her first-grade class. Her high school days were true “Happy Days” where music continued to be a passion and she discovered theater. She performed as Julie Jordan in Carousel and Ado Annie in Oklahoma!. Marleen was crowned homecoming queen and gathered with friends each day after school at Frisch’s Big Boy.
Marleen attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where she met her husband, Phil Bain. While in chapel at Muskingum, Marleen leaned forward to pick up a pledge card and Phil was leaning back in the pew when they bumped heads. The two were soon married and enjoyed life in the “army barracks” of married student housing where they formed many dear, lifelong friendships. Marleen graduated from Muskingum with an English degree and two daughters. Her son was born and the family moved to Athens, Ohio as Phil began his Ph.D. studies at Ohio University. The young family of five lived for an adventuresome few years during the late '60s in the first co-ed dorm on campus.
Marleen and her family headed west after living through the Kent State Riots and settled in Moscow, Idaho. Marleen began teaching nursery school and captivated students with her energetic and magnetic personality. She continued singing, this time with the First Presbyterian Church. While living in Moscow, she once again, made dear, lifelong friends.
Five years later, the family continued life in the west, moving to Missoula. She quickly developed a love for Big Sky Country, horseback trips to the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness Areas, epic family camping trips, hikes to the “M” on Mount Sentinel, walking the Jeanette Rankin Trail with friends, and hiking through her beloved Rattlesnake Wilderness with her dogs, Marleen was a loyal and dedicated sidekick to Phil’s often perilous horseback excursions.
She was a dedicated and enthusiastic parent, supporting Camp Fire Girls, Cub Scouts, gymnastics, football, choirs, cheerleading, drill team, basketball, ski team and famously allowed her children to bring home pets and animals of all kinds!
Marleen spent more than two decades working at the University of Montana as an Academic Advisor. She made a positive impact on countless students, helping them reach their academic potential while teaching Freshman Seminar courses, coordinating tutoring services, and running peer advising programs. Her love and commitment to her students was legendary and she remained in contact with many of the students she befriended and guided.
Marleen’s dedication to the Missoula community was evident in the countless hours she spent with volunteer organizations. She served on the Board of Directors for the Missoula Carousel and Missoula Children’s Theatre. She loved performing with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and appeared in shows such as The Music Man, Most Happy Fella, Carousel, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. Many people fondly remember her smoking outside the back door of the Wilma Theatre during intermission of The Sound of Music with her friends — all of them dressed in their nun’s habits!
Marleen was instrumental in creating the All Night Senior Graduation Party for high school students throughout Missoula and the legacy of that program continues today. She also volunteered time with Habitat for Humanity and assisted her husband delivering food for Meals on Wheels.
Marleen and Phil traveled to London, Switzerland, Guatemala, Haiti, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, New York, Scotland and Italy. She made a many, many trips to visit her children and grandchildren in Seattle, Phoenix and Reno for celebrations and special occasions. Her grandchildren were her joy and were lucky to have shared her creativity, her love and her laughter.
Marleen is survived by her husband of 54 years, Phil Bain. Her children; Christy Bain and son-in-law Michael Smith, of Seattle and Ellensburg, Washington, and their children Mimi and Violet Bain and Nathan and Andrew Kasselis-Smith; Amy Bain of Phoenix, Arizona, and her children Ellie and Saadiya Bain; Martin Bain and daughter-in-law Mitzi Miller, of Reno, Nevada and their children Kate and Andrew Bain; her sisters-in-law Marisa Bain of Columbus, Ohio, and Rebecca Hoover of Granville, Ohio, and nieces and nephews throughout the United States.
Marleen was a beloved wife, mother and friend. A tiny sized bundle of energy, Marleen lived her life boldly and bravely. She was well-known for her compassion, humor, feistiness and the twinkle in her eye. She loved the Grizzlies, all things red, Christmas, following fire trucks, spying deer and elk on Mount Jumbo, strong coffee, the bears in her front yard, bridge groups, living in the upper Rattlesnake, and her Labrador retrievers.
A celebration of Marleen’s life will be held this spring on Saturday, May 19. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Missoula Children’s Theatre or the Missoula Carousel would be welcome.