Marlene M. Chesnut

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Marlene Marie Chesnut, age 86, of Elkader, passed away peacefully on April 8, 2023. She was a resident at the Elkader Care Center and will be greatly missed by her family.


Marlene was born on Oct. 16, 1936, the daughter of Eldo and Marie (Staack) Wilke of Elkader. She attended and graduated from Central High School. On Nov. 26, 1955, Marlene was united in marriage to Dale Chesnut of Adair, at Zion Lutheran Church in Clayton Center. Her life as a wife, homemaker and mother kept her very busy. Marlene and Dale are the proud parents of two daughters.


Shortly after their marriage, the couple farmed and then moved to Farmersburg. Marlene was an avid gardener, loved to do crafts, work on puzzles and get in an occasional game of cards with friends and family. She also was an excellent seamstress. Over the years, she could be found sitting at her sewing machine putting together a new piece of clothing or working on one of the many quilts and wall hangings she pieced together. For many years, Marlene was actively involved in the activities of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Farmersburg. In the 1990s, Marlene and Dale bought the Wilke century farm north of Elkader. In 1993, they moved into their new home that they built and enjoyed living on the farm where she grew up. From time to time, they would take a trip to see the sights the world had to offer.


Marlene is survived by her husband of 67 years, Dale Chesnut; daughters, Marcia Floy (Michael) of Decorah and Denise Winger (Terry) of Dubuque; grandchildren, Kristopher Floy (Valerie), Jill Lacina (Al), Amanda Floy (Nick Scott), Craig Winger (Meghan) and Ashley Floy; great-grandchildren, Lucas and Hanna Lacina, Talon and Sadie Floy and Will and Henry Winger; siblings, Carol Kruse, Cynthia Beck (Loren) and Paul Wilke (Jill); and sisters-in-law,  lvanelle Wilke and Shirley Chesnut.


She is preceded in death by her parents, Eldo and Marie Wilke; brother, Eldean Wilke; sister, Patty Wilke; and extended family members in the Wilke and Chesnut families.


The family would like to extend their gratitude to the Elkader Care Center and St. Croix Hospice for the patience and care they provided.


A visitation with a celebration of life was held April 14, at Bethany Lutheran Church, Elkader, with Rev. Kate Johnson officiating. 


Inurnment was held at Clayton Center Cemetery, Clayton Center, following the service. Honorary pallbearers were her grandchildren.


In lieu of flowers, it is Marlene’s wish that any memorials be directed to Wonderland Camp located in Rocky Mount, Mo. (camp for special needs children/adults) or St. Croix Hospice.


Cards of condolences may be sent to the following address: 120 Reimer St. SW, Apt. 203, Elkader IA 52043. Leonard-Grau Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

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