Marilyn Oca (Brightwell) Finney
October 20, 1943-May 22, 2023
Marilyn was born and raised in Des Moines, the middle child of five siblings. She attended Park Avenue Elementary/ Middle school and graduated from Lincoln High School. Following graduation, she worked for Banker’s Life in Des Moines and attended Grand View College, where she met the love of her life and future husband, Larry Finney. They were married on May 11, 1963. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Anaheim, California, where their 2 children, Vicki Anne (1965) and James Brian (1967), were born.
During their tenure there, Marilyn worked as an Executive Secretary at an aerospace company and Larry completed his undergraduate degree. In 1968, they moved back to Iowa so Larry could attend Medical School at the University of Iowa, and during the 4 years there Marilyn worked as the personal secretary to the President of American College Testing (ACT), headquartered in Iowa City. After completing medical school, they moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the next 30 years.
Early while in Sioux Falls, Marilyn gave her life to Christ. She became involved in Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women’s Club), initially attending bible studies, then leading them, subsequently traveling extensively in the upper Midwest giving her testimony at Christian Women’s Clubs. She then spent several years as an area coordinator for the organization. She was involved for a number of years with PEO chapters in Sioux Falls and Lead, South Dakota. In 1979, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and prior to the time of death was a 44-year breast cancer survivor. She was a wonderful woman, wife, mother, prayer warrior, and most of all, she dearly loved her Lord and Savior.
The couple retired in 2000 and moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where they made a multitude of friends and enjoyed the lifestyle and beauty the Hills had to offer. In 2011, they moved to Southern California to be closer to, and spend more time with their son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters. The past three years Marilyn had been actively involved in her local church teaching women’s studies with new friends she dearly loved.
Larry and Marilyn had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on May 11, 2023, less than two weeks prior to her death. She was excited to see her first great grandchild, a girl, to be born late August, and celebrate her 80th birthday in late October 2023, events she did not live long enough to experience.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her father, Harley Hollis Brightwell, mother, Gail Oca Brightwell, as well as her brother-in-law, Larry Mitchell, all of whom are interred at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Grateful for having shared in her life are her surviving spouse Lawrence (Larry) Finney, her children, Vicki, and James (Patricia), granddaughters, Erica Renee Phillips (Josh), and Audrianna Elizabeth Finney (Dallas). Marilyn’s surviving siblings include her oldest sister and brother, Barbara Ann Mitchell (Larry) and David Alan Brightwell (Linda), and her two younger sisters, Susan Mary Marquis (Dan) and Karen Elizabeth Hubbart (Rick).
Marilyn died of an acute cardiac arrhythmia while visiting her son’s family in Gilbert, Arizona. Marilyn was cremated, and a combined Memorial/Celebration of Life/80th birthday celebration is taking place on Friday, October 20, 2023, at 10 AM at Sunset Memorial Chapel & Gardens in Des Moines. The service will be live-streamed, and the link will be on this page on the date of the service.
Donations may be made payable to Revival Christian Fellowship Women's Ministry (In memory of Marilyn) and mailed to Revival Christian Fellowship, 29220 Scott Road, Menifee, California 92584.