December 10, 1929 — November 24, 2018
Marilyn Cecelia Hull (Petterborg) was born December 10, 1929, in Preston, Idaho, to Guy and Cecelia Petterborg. She was raised in a three-room log cabin homestead farm in what was known as the Glendale community. She was the middle child of 11 and learned early how to help in the care of her younger siblings. It was the time of the Great Depression, and she also learned that each member of the family had an essential role in survival, which was excellent training for her career later in life.
Her elementary education was in a one-room schoolhouse. A photo of her third-grade class shows 14 students lined up in front of the school. The emphasis was on reading, writing and arithmetic. One teacher sufficed for first- through sixth-grade.
Like many in the 1930s, Marilyn’s family was short on cash, but long on resourcefulness and love. She learned how to stretch a dollar, and make do with what was on hand. Everyday clothing was passed down the line from one child to the next and sewing and mending were skills she learned which proved useful in later life. She made her nurse’s uniform instead of buying it. Years later, a friend gave her fabric she had purchased abroad, and Marilyn made beautiful Chinese jackets from it.
She gained her growth and strength early. When World War II broke out, her two older brothers were inducted into the service and 12-year-old Marilyn was left as her father's main helper. She drove a team of horses, pitched hay, milked the family's cows, drove an ancient Caterpillar tractor and shoveled out the barn stalls, as well as helped her mother with the care of her younger siblings. All this while, she was attending Preston High School, from which she graduated in 1948. At an assembly at PHS, a group of nurses from St. Anthony's Hospital in Pocatello, Idaho, talked to her class, urging them to enter the nursing profession. She decided then that nursing would be her career.
Her father opposed her dream of becoming a nurse, because, he said, “It is a dirty job.” While mucking out the cow stalls one afternoon after school, she wondered how much dirtier nursing could possibly be than this! She applied for a scholarship to St. Anthony's nursing school in Pocatello and graduated in 1951 with an RN degree.
Her first job was with the Red Cross bloodmobile. It was on a blood draw in Moscow, Idaho that she met the man who became her first husband, Eben Owens.
Eb was in the Naval ROTC, and after receiving his commission, was stationed in Long Beach, California. They were married there in 1953, and with the completion of his service, moved to Corvallis where he pursued a degree in bacteriology at Oregon State College while Marilyn worked as a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital. Over the years, they had three girls, Patrice, Karen and Susan.
Marilyn became a 4-H leader and taught girls cooking, baking and sewing in her house. She taught the girls more than technique — they learned responsibility and how to work together on a project. Her own children became adept seamstresses and cooks and won blue ribbons at the Benton County and Oregon State Fair. Marilyn often said that she considered it an honor to be a 4-H leader, and took pride in the accomplishments of her students.
Marilyn was a strong, tough, resilient lady. At the time when her first marriage was breaking up, more calamity hit. While attending her daughter Patrice’s wedding in New Iberia, Louisiana, she was notified that her house in Corvallis had burned down. Most of the furniture and family records were destroyed. The house was a total loss. She did not collapse, however. With the help of a skilled hospital friend, she rebuilt her new home on the site, and spent many hours gardening, which was her way of dealing with the stress of it all.
Her marriage to Eben Owens dissolved in 1978 after 25 years. She continued her work as a nurse in the orthopedic surgery floor at GSH. It was there she first encountered John Hull, M.D., an anesthesiologist at the hospital.
Years passed, and although Marilyn and the Hulls would occasionally meet at holiday parties thrown by mutual friends, the social interaction at such parties was usually casual and brief. It was a surprise when, a year after John's wife, Janet, died of cancer, John phoned Marilyn to ask her if she would like to go to the Portland Opera with him to hear “Porgy and Bess.” She thought she would.
It soon became apparent that in spite of widely differing childhoods, Marilyn and John shared important values: love of family, the outdoors, music, the medical profession, and a love of the Christian faith. After a lot of soul-searching (and leaf-raking) John proposed marriage, and Marilyn accepted. They were married February 20, 1988, beginning 30 years of happy married life.
A honeymoon trip to Hawaii, Japan and Hong Kong set the stage for further traveling after John retired. Together, they enjoyed trips to Japan, England, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Costa Rica. They crossed Canada by rail. They went to New York City for a granddaughter’s graduation. They visited almost every National Park in the western states and spent time in the Colorado Rockies.
She kept in close touch with her family in Idaho and Utah and traveled with three granddaughters to family reunions and followed the Oregon Trail from Louisiana to Corvallis with four teenage grandsons. Her love of the outdoors led her to take up cross-country skiing in Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Montana. She was always ready to seek out and explore beautiful places where God’s creative activity could be seen.
Although she enjoyed traveling, Marilyn never lost her identity as a mother, a nurse and a person who could be depended on to work hard at any organization she was involved in: OSU-Corvallis Symphony, OSU-Piano International, Interfaith Caregivers, and Presbyterian Women among others. Her insight, diligence, and willingness to work at any task was appreciated by her co-workers in all these groups.
Marilyn died of heart failure November 24, 2018, worn out, but not rusted out. She has earned her rest, but will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by her husband, John A. Hull; her three daughters, Patrice Dupuis, Karen Austin, and Susan Griffin; her three stepdaughters, Carol Luthra, Margaret Yamasaki, and Katherine Hull; 13 grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis, the Old Mill Center, Community Outreach, or other charity of your choice.