Marilyn J. Rowlands, of Waukesha, died peacefully on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at Three Pillars Masonic Home at the age of 88. She was born on March 10, 1932, in Palmyra, the daughter of Dennis and Eva “Ted” (nee Smith) Jones. She was the Valedictorian of the Palmyra High School Class of 1949. Marilyn, known as “Fairy”, in the small town of Palmyra would roller skate all over town where everyone knew her. For football games her mom would park the car at the end of the football field so that Marilyn had a place to quickly change from her cheerleader’s outfit to her drum majorette uniform so she could lead the band onto the field at halftime.
During her Senior year she accompanied her folks on a cross country road trip to San Francisco where they boarded a troop ship bound for Hawaii. The passage was arranged by her brother, Russell, who was in the Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor. The family returned to the States via Pan Am airlines. Having been one of very few people in the rural area to have ever flown commercially, Marilyn became a featured speaker at church and ladies groups retelling and showing pictures of her trip, which included the beauty of Hawaii and also the wreckage of Pearl Harbor. At the conclusion of the meetings Marilyn would perform a hula
dance in a grass skirt.
Marilyn attended Stephens College - a women’s two year college, where she was the President of her resident hall. Her boyfriend from Palmyra once drove to Columbia, MO to take her to a school dance. The school, unaware of who he was, telegraphed her parents to get their permission to allow him to escort her to the dance. She then went to UW-Madison where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology. She worked at Milwaukee Hospital where each day she had to sharpen her own needles to draw patient’s blood.
On August 9, 1952 she married Robert H. Rowlands and together they owned and operated Keystone Farms, located west of Waukesha at the corner of Sunset Drive and Hwy DT. Keystone was the third largest producer of Certified Raw Milk in the US; they bottled and distributed the milk to customers in southeastern Wisconsin and Chicago. They also produced all natural ice cream using premium ingredients and their quality milk - years before Ben & Jerry’s. Marilyn was the farm’s herdsman, keeping meticulous records of the cows production, breeding and medical treatments. Many area children have fond memories of visiting this beautiful farm on a school field trip where they were treated to Dixie cups of ice cream while picnicking under the shade trees after Marilyn had led them on a tour of the farm, patiently explaining that chocolate milk does not come from brown cows. Bob and Marilyn sold the farm in the 1970’s and she became a realtor working with her husband at Bob Rowlands Realty. Marilyn also had her own company, Vacation Real Estate, where she sold timeshare weeks at resorts on Sanibel and Hilton Head Islands. Many area families have grown up vacationing at these lovely spots because of Marilyn.
She was a longtime member of Bethesda Presbyterian Church - a picturesque
country church where she would warmly welcome all visitors. Marilyn was a
prolific and talented quilter, winning prizes at local quilting shows, but she most enjoyed creating amazing quilts to give to her family and friends.
Marilyn, who lived for her family, will be sadly missed by her children Rick (Marilynn) Rowlands of Scottsdale, AZ, Rhonda (Doug) Ingle of Littleton, CO, Rusty (Diane) Rowlands of Campbell Hall, NY and Megan (Jon) Stowe of Midway, UT. She is further survived by her grandchildren Tyler Rowlands, Tanner Rowlands, Kelsey (Daniel) Laughland, Carly (fiancée Brian DeMocker) Ingle, Owen Rowlands and Mason Rowlands; great-granddaughter Rowan Rowlands; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert “Bob” Rowlands on December 27, 2017 , her parents, and her brother Russell Jones.
Visitation will be Saturday, August 7, 2021, from 10:00 AM until the 11:30 funeral service at Jerusalem Presbyterian Church 207 W. Main St. in Wales. A Celebration of Life luncheon will follow at The Golden Mast W349 N5293 Lacy’s Lane, Okauchee, WI 53069. All are invited. Graveside services will take place Sunday August 8, 2021 at 11:30 AM at Salem Cemetery in Wales.
Memorials are appreciated to Bethesda Presbyterian Church W289 S2547 Cty Rd. DT Waukesha, WI 53188.
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory and Preplanning Service is honored to serve the family. For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at
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