Marian Osterby

Marian Osterby, 86, of Centralia, WA, passed away peacefully at home June 7, 2019, on her favorite day of the week, Scrabble Friday! She was born near Centralia March 2, 1933, to Arne and Julia Fagerness. Marian was the first of nine children. She had seven brothers and one sister: Carl, Gene, John, Paul, Arlene, Jim, Fred and Mark.

Marian graduated from Centralia High School in 1950. She worked at the Centralia Public Library while a student at Centralia Junior College, graduating in 1952. After attending San Francisco State College for one year, Marian worked in a civilian position at the Post Library at Camp Hanford for two years. She then enrolled in classes at the University of Washington. While in school, Marian worked for the Seattle Public Library.

During a visit home, she attended a Fords Prairie Grange meeting with her family. After inquiring who the good looking blonde was, her father introduced her to Emil Osterby, the “bachelor farmer from the valley.” Their courtship progressed and they were soon engaged. Despite Arnie’s efforts to encourage the couple to elope (he even provided a new ladder), Marian and Emil were married in the Lutheran Church in 1959. They resided on the family farm on Salzer Valley where they raised timber, cattle, hay and their three daughters.

Marian returned to work in 1963, at the Washington State Library in Olympia. In 1966, Marian wrote her undergraduate thesis and completed the final two credits required for her bachelor’s degree. She enrolled in the University of Washington School of Library Science and received her master’s degree in 1967.

Marian enjoyed a successful 22 year career serving as the Branch Librarian for the Centralia Timberland Regional Library. Receiving the Economic Development Grant to modernize the original 1913 Carnegie Library was the highlight of her career. Marian held a deep regard for her staff, who under her guidance successfully moved the ENTIRE contents of the library TWICE during the 1977-1978 expansion and remodel of the Centralia Timberland Library.

After her retirement in 1989, Marian enjoyed traveling in the United States and internationally with family and friends. Painting, reading, crossword puzzles, volunteering, movie nights, library luncheons, card games and hosting family holidays and celebrations filled her retirement years. She always kept the cookie jar full and coffee ready for family and friends. In her later years, she had a standing date every weeknight with Alex Trebeck. She loved playing Jeopardy, often answering the question before the contestants could ring their bell! Every Friday was reserved for the ongoing rivalry of Scrabble Friday with her sister or a rousing game of Hand and Foot when other family members stopped by to visit.

Marian enjoyed being active in her community. She was a member of American Association of University Women, a Golden Sheaf member of the Fords Prairie Grange and a past member of the Sons of Norway. Marian was an active member of Soroptomist International of Centralia-Chehalis. She loved working with her Soroptomist sisters, helping to provide women and girls with resources and opportunities to reach their full potential. Marian was presented with the Soroptomist International Ruby Award in 2017 to honor her 50 years of service helping to improve the lives of women.

Marian was well known for her cooking skills. She wrote and published her own cookbook, From the Kitchen of Family and Friends. Marian combined her love of cooking with her love of volunteering by helping organize and cook Grange dinners, Swedish Pancake Breakfasts, and Lutefisk Dinners. She donated private dinners to several fundraising auctions. For many years, Marian and her siblings worked together preparing salmon dinners for the “Skipper’s Dinner” during Olympia Harbor Days, proceeds going to the Arne C. Fagerness scholarship at Centralia College.   

Marian is survived by her three daughters, Ellen (David) Meents, Anne Osterby and Carla Osterby; three grandchildren, Brian Meents (Yani) of Centralia, Allison Larimore (Justin) of Renton and Daisha Klein (Jonathan) of Puyallup; and four great-grandchildren, Daniel, Noah, Cassius and Atticus.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 39 years; and her brother, Carl.  

Marian loved a good party. Please join us as we celebrate her life with good food, music and laughter, Aug. 3, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Fords Prairie Grange in Centralia.

Donations in memory of Marian may be gifted to the Arne C. Fagerness Scholarship at Centralia College.

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