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Marilyn Gillespie Keenan Rozendaal

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Marilyn Gillespie Keenan Rozendaal, 88, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife, and friend, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 2, 2023, at Kavanagh House in Des Moines.

Born June 14, 1934, in Grinnell, Iowa, to C. Ithel and Ruth (McCulloch) Gillespie, Marilyn attended school in Ladora and Newburg. Following graduation in 1952, she married Kenneth Keenan. They raised six children and dairy farmed in Jasper County from 1956 until 1986.

Marilyn was humble, generous, compassionate, and a consummate homemaker. She was a gifted seamstress who made clothes for her children and grandchildren, receiving state and national recognition for several of her projects. Marilyn was a full-time working partner on the dairy farm requiring early morning and late afternoon milking chores year-round.

Marilyn was active in Victor Grange, the Newburg-Chester Congregational Church, 4-H, and The Arc (formerly ARC). She was instrumental in establishing group homes in Grinnell for people with disabilities. She enjoyed playing piano, card games, and attending dances. After her children were grown, Marilyn worked for the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District.


Marilyn and Kenneth divorced in 1996. In 2008, she married Robert (Bob) Rozendaal of Sully. They were active in the Newburg Congregational Church and the Sully First Reformed Church.


Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, husband Robert Rozendaal, daughter Janet Keenan, brother Howard Gillespie, sister Carolyn Risch, former husband Kenneth Keenan, step daughter-in-law Crissie Rozendaal, infant grandson Joseph Hirl, and infant granddaughter Megan McKelvey.

Marilyn is survived by five of her children: Pamela (Dennis) Vogel of Des Moines, Shirley Keenan of Johnston, Gary (Gail Perkins) Keenan of Des Moines, Marcia McKelvey (Dennis Magnuson) of Decorah, Glen (Missy) Keenan of Des Moines, 15 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, sister Eleanor Osland (Grinnell), step children Dale (Jana) Rozendaal (Lynnville), Marla (Eugene) Sjaardema (Reasnor), Dennis Rozendaal (Cedar Rapids), Rodney (Dana) Rozendaal (Sully), Ross (Kara) Rozendaal (AZ), and many step grandchildren.

An open house with Marilyn’s family will take place Friday, May 12, from 5-8 p.m. at St. Francis Community Center in Grinnell. A memorial service will be Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. at Grinnell United Methodist Church, followed by a luncheon. Family and friends are welcome. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Marilyn’s name to Special Olympics Iowa, EveryStep Hospice, The Arc of Iowa, or the Alzheimer's Association.



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