On March 29, 2020, our Savior called Marilyn Emilie Brockopp to his heavenly home. She died peacefully surrounded by her family after a nearly two-year struggle with ovarian cancer.
Born on July 25, 1934, in Neshkoro, Wisconsin, she was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Emma (Reetz) Rhode, and her sister, Dolores Wiskow Spray. Surviving are her three children: Amy Byrne (Steve) of Indianapolis; Jonathan Brockopp (Paula Droege) of State College, PA; and Kristina Jenny (Pete) of New Albany, OH. Ten beloved grandchildren also survive: Lauren Schneider (Cory), Chris, Marni, and Erin Byrne; Noah Droege; Frederick, Amanda, Harrison, Isabel, and Rebecca Jenny. Also grieving with us are her former husband, Gene Brockopp (Dorothy), her special friend, Gerry Weichmann, and many, many relatives and friends.
Music, family, hospitality, and friendship defined her life. After receiving a degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin in 1956, she completed a master’s degree at Indiana University. She taught music in the public schools of Spencer, IN, Orchard Park, NY, Boone Grove, IN, Chesterton, IN, and Wautoma, WI. She also taught at Valparaiso University and Marian University (Fond du Lac, WI).
As a performer, she sang with the Portland, OR, Opera Company and was the featured soprano soloist in Handel’s Oratorio, The Messiah, at Kleinhan’s Music Hall in Buffalo, NY in 1970. But she regarded her role as director of children’s choirs in Valparaiso and Fond du Lac, and the Neshkoro Community Chorus, as the pinnacle of her career.
An avid and talented decorator, she also renovated and expanded her childhood home in Neshkoro, opening it as The Riverview Bed and Breakfast in 2005. For ten years, she welcomed guests from all over the world to this small, central Wisconsin town, and treated guests and visiting family members alike to spectacular breakfasts, beautifully presented.
Wherever she lived, she built community and knit together close circles of devoted friends. She was always working on a sewing project for a granddaughter, making a casserole for a friend, or sending a birthday card to a nephew. Despite living in Fishers, IN, for only a few short years, she already made many wonderful friends there who supported her and her family in these last weeks.
A memorial service will be held at Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Fishers, once we can all come together again to grieve and celebrate as a community. Her ashes will be interred in a private ceremony in Neshkoro. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marilyn’s memory to Valparaiso University (https://www.valpo.edu/forevervalpo/ways-to-give/
) or Cornerstone Lutheran Church (https://www.cornerstonelutheran.church/