Marlene Hoyland Zaleski of Cookeville, Tennessee, passed away Wednesday, December 7, 2017. She was born January 22nd, 1936 in Barron, Wisconsin to Marjorie and Arnold Hoyland. Marlene was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin with her siblings Bernie, Gwen and Sherry. Her life was forever changed when she met the love of her life, Peter Zaleski. Theirs was a special bond like no other. They married on February 2, 1957, and eventually moved to Forrest City, Arkansas where they raised their four children. Marlene made a place for her family in the south, becoming a member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, a youth leader in Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, President of the Forrest City School Board, was nominated for the Arkansas Community Service Award, was responsible for Forrest City’s ﬁrst ever prom, and helped organize the Adopt-a-School program. Once all the children were out of the home, Marlene and Pete moved to Cookeville, Tennessee to live out their retirement. Unfortunately, their life of playing golf and traveling was cut short with Pete’s diagnosis of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Marlene tirelessly took care of Pete right up to the end of his life on April 4th, 2003. She then worked tirelessly with Augie’s Quest, helping to provide support and equipment needed by other families affected by this terrible disease and helped organize the ALS walk in Cookeville to raise money for the research of ALS. Marlene was most proud of the book she wrote about Pete’s struggle with ALS, called For the Love of Pete, a tribute to the man she adored.
Marlene touched the lives of many people with her smile and generosity. She never met a stranger and treated everyone with the same kindness and respect, no matter the situation or circumstance. Marlene always put others ﬁrst, and was ready to help with anything that was needed. She had a love for animals, especially her and Pete’s beloved cat Bandit. “Gram” adored her grandkids, and was so proud of her entire family.
Marlene was currently living in Pensacola, Florida at the time of her death. She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister Gwen Summers. She is survived by her children, David (Jill) Zaleski , Susie (Tony) Redwine, Lori (Jim) Gerritsen, Marla (Bill) McCrary, as well as her ten grandkids; Andrew, Hannah (Simon), Peter, Katherine, Sarah (Noah), Michael, Rebekah (Reid), Austin, Tess and Ava. Marlene is also survived by her brother Bernie and sister Sherry.
Marlene’s memorial service will be at 10:30 am Saturday, December 16th at Heavenly Host Lutheran Church in Cookeville, Tennessee. A lunch will follow the service at noon. In lieu of ﬂowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to Augie’s Quest or the ALS Association.