Marian Elizabeth Bartleson

Marian Bartleson

Marian E. Bartleson passed away, with her daughters by her side, on November 16, 2016 in Spokane, Wash. after a short battle with cancer.

Marian was born on the southern tip of Whidbey Island in the small community of Maxwelton on January 26, 1936. Marian was the daughter of Marie and Leon Burley and the great granddaughter of William Pickering, territorial governor of Washington under Abraham Lincoln. She was the youngest of six children. Marian graduated from Langley High School in 1954.

After high school, Marian continued her education at Everett Community College and Seattle Pacific University. Marian graduated with her teaching degree from Seattle Pacific University.

While attending Everett CC, Marian met her husband, Wayne, who was studying to become a Mortician. Wayne and Marian were married in 1958. For a short time after, they lived in California where Wayne attended San Francisco College of Mortuary Science and Marian taught first grade. They returned to the Northwest and settled in Everett where Wayne was employed at Solie Funeral Home and Marian again taught school. They made their final move to Whidbey Island where they purchased the funeral home in Oak Harbor, Wash. from Ben Ronhaar and in 1962, opened a new facility, which stands today at Whidbey and Ely Street. During the next 22 years, they raised five children and operated Bartleson Funeral Home and Ambulance Service. Marian loved to tell stories of her experience as a Mortician’s wife and operating a funeral business.

Marian was a talented vocalist and used her gift to sing at college recitals as well as many weddings, funerals, and the church choir. Her love of children led to many years of teaching first grade in California, Everett and Oak Harbor Schools. She finished her teaching career at Crescent Harbor Elementary in Oak Harbor. Marian loved working with young children. Even after retirement she enjoyed volunteering as a story time reader at many day care facilities in town. She was a member for many years of Polly Harpole Hospital Guild.

Marian was a devoted Christian who loved the Lord. She was an active member of Oak Harbor Lutheran Church for over 50 years where she taught years of Sunday School, Bible School, and was a member of the Morning Glory Choir.

Marian was a long-time member of the Oak Harbor community. Most weekday mornings you could find Marian walking with her walking group along City Beach and Flintstone Freeway, and enjoying her daily coffee group at the Daily Grind coffee shop afterward. Marian loved spending time with her daughters and grandkids in Seattle and Spokane. Her favorite getaways were to Leavenworth, WA., or Spokane, WA. with her 3 daughters during the summertime. In her spare time Marian enjoyed coffee with her girlfriends, reading, doll collecting, gardening, watching Gonzaga Basketball, and attending the annual “Burley Blast.” Marian’s “Sassy” spirit will be deeply missed by her family and friends.

Marian is survived by son Chris Bartleson of Oak Harbor, Wash.; three daughters, Dana Carrothers of Sammamish, Wash, Heidi Bresson (Mike) of Spokane, Wash., and Heather LeFriec (Andy) of Spokane; five grandchildren, Kennedy Carrothers, Cameron Carrothers, Rory Bresson, Brookes Bresson and Madeleine LeFriec; two sisters, Janice Wildes and Joyce Funk; and brothers Wayne Burley and Richard Burley, as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Wayne, son Eric, her parents, and brother Robert.

A memorial service for Marian will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Oak Harbor Lutheran Church with Rev. Jeffrey Spencer officiating. A reception will follow in the church hall. The family suggests memorials to the Oak Harbor Lutheran Church.

Arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home. To share stories or leave condolences, please visit Marian’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website at

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