Marilyn R. Willson

Marilyn R. Willson

April 24, 1932 – July 26, 2020


Age 88.

Marilyn was born to George and Esther Hassenplug on April 24, 1932 in Kimball, Nebraska.  She lived in Valparaiso until age 11, then moved to Arapahoe with her mom after her father passed away.  Her mother died 18 months later.  Marilyn then lived with her Aunt Marge, Uncle Chet, and Cousin David.

After high school, Marilyn attended Mary Lanning School of Nursing in Hastings, Nebraska.  Shortly after, she married Bill Willson and lived in San Diego, CA behind the zoo, falling asleep at night listening to the lions, tigers, and bears!  The couple returned to Nebraska where Bill went into the photography business with his stepdad, EJ Willson, at Willson’s Studio.  Marilyn did “color work” on the side while being a stay at home mom.  Eventually they bought the store and it became Bill Willson Photography.  They worked side-by-side for 40 plus years.

Marilyn was also known for her many crafty talents.  She was pretty good at sewing, making Barbie, Skipper, and Chatty Cathy clothes, curtains, tablecloths and clothes for the family.  Later, she made intricate cards for friends and family that were framed instead of being thrown away.

Marilyn lived a long life even though she’d been diagnosed with MS at age 46.  She was one to never give up and pushed to get herself on a trial medication.  She was on that medication till her death.

Marilyn was always a happy, positive person who had a smile for everyone.  Her greatest love was her family.  In fact, during retirement, she and Bill traveled a little, yet always ended up in Omaha to visit the girls.

After Bill died, Marilyn remained in North Platte, NE for several years, then moved to Papillion to be closer to family.  The Grand Lodge at Hillcrest became her new home and the staff became her extended family.  She was a Charter member who was loved by all and many tears have been shed at losing her.

Marilyn was preceded in death by husband, Bill and parents, George and Esther Hassenplug.  She is survived by daughters, Kim (Bob) Whitehouse, and Kristie (Guy) Plugge; six grandchildren: Brent (Christina Roberts) Plugge, Tyler Plugge, Cory (Bre Bollow) Plugge, Stacey Whitehouse, Taylor Whitehouse, and Todd (Jennifer) Whitehouse; four great-grandchildren: Hannah, Jack, Sam, and Sophee; sisters-in-law, Mary Reifsteck and Paula Babbitt Beran.

VISITATION following CDC guidelines: Wednesday, July 29th from 1pm to 2pm, at the West Center Chapel followed by MEMORIAL SERVICE at 2pm.  INTERMENT: Monday, August 3rd, 9am, Fort McPherson National Cemetery.  Memorials to Trinity United Methodist Church Ralston.  Masks requested, please.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, go to our website and click the View Live Cast button on our homepage.




  • Char & Perry Nicholas Posted July 28, 2020 9:45 am

    Marilyn was a wonderful person her obituary tells how she truly was. I have many wonderful memories working with Mare & Bill they always treated me as family. Our thoughts & prayers go out to Kim & Kristi’s families.

  • Mary Posted July 28, 2020 2:01 pm

    So painful not to be able to travel there and be with my dear nieces. I cherish my many happy memories I have of such an important and dear person in my life. Always said she was the sister i never had..

  • Sheila Forrester Posted July 29, 2020 10:50 pm

    Marilyn was always such a light. I worked for Bill and Marilyn over 30 years ago and have many fond memories from that time. My condolences to Kim, Kris and families.

  • Ramona Anderson Posted July 30, 2020 12:58 pm

    Mom was born and raised in Arapahoe. She always loved the fact that Marilyn was from Arapahoe also. Mom remembers Marge and Chet Babbit and David. Our Anderson family pictures were always taken by Bill Willson Photography. Over the many many years my folks, Max and Ramona, really enjoyed time spent with Bill and Marilyn. From: Karla

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