Marlin D. Westra


Marlin Westra died from complications due to COVID on November 15, 2020 in Sioux Falls, SD at the age of 84.

Marlin is survived by his children: son Mike (Robin) Westra, Windsor, CO; daughter Mitzi Westra (Frank Felice), Indianapolis, IN; and son Marty Westra (Jeanette), Sioux Falls, SD; brother Eldon (Marcia) Westra, Sioux Center, IA; grandchildren Samantha Westra and Jessica Westra, Sioux Falls, SD, and Sam (Gwen) Westra, Laramie, WY and Annie Westra, Windsor, CO; great-grandchildren Elijah, Kamauri, Zavion, and Aaliyah Westra, Sioux Falls, SD. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Don (Maryjane) Westra, Fergus Falls, MN, and his beloved wife Myrna (nee Hughes).

Marlin was born on June 18, 1936 in Sioux City, IA to Sam and Johanna (nee Sinkey) Westra. After graduating from Ireton High School, he went on to get his BA in Math, Science, and Education from Westmar College. He earned his MA in Math and Physics from University of South Dakota and worked towards his PhD in Physics Education from Texas A&M, but didn’t finish due to the growing responsibilities of raising a family. He married Myrna Hughes—his high school sweetheart—in 1957. Teaching was his gift and his passion; he taught at Anthon-Oto Community High School in Anthon, IA and at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD. He then taught college math and physics at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD, where he was Head of the Math Department. After moving to Sioux Falls, Marlin changed careers and began working for Sencore Electronics, Inc., starting as the editor of the Sencore Newsletter, moving into engineering, and eventually attaining the title of Vice President of Engineering. During his time there, he was awarded 5 US application patents. He worked at Litton Microwave and Electronics Systems, Inc.; in both jobs, he rose through the engineering ranks to supervisory status. He “retired” in 2001. He sold the house and moved into South Hampton Apartments where he managed it for 18 years up until his passing.

His family and friends remember him as a helper and a doer. He showed his faith in his unfailingly kind service to others. He and Myrna were married for 63 years--years of laughter and fun, teasing and love, naps and bedtime ice cream. When she got cancer in 2016, he was her full-time caretaker/home nurse. He never grumbled and always would do whatever he could to make her comfortable and make her smile. While Mom showed her faith by seeking answers in reading and Bible study and such, Dad showed his faith in more subtle but concrete ways: running upstairs to unplug a toilet or sink; taking care of the property and residents; being a trustee at church; mowing the church lawn, etc. He was the guy you went to when you needed something to get done. Whatever he was doing, he would always be humming some jaunty tune while doing it. He loved to sing and spent many years singing tenor in church choirs and community groups. He embodied the midwestern work ethic and never turned away someone who needed help with something, no matter how big (Mitzi with algebra) or small (the lady upstairs who was too unsteady to be on a ladder to change a light bulb). Marlin was a rare, genuine, kind soul who deserves to hear from God, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. ”

Due to the pandemic, there are no plans for a funeral service at this time. The Dakotas are currently a hot spot for the virus, and it is not safe to travel anywhere. Memorial service arrangements will be made through Heritage Funeral Home in Sioux Falls ( When it is safe to gather again, we will try to let friends and family know where and when that will be.

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