Cover photo for Marilyn Fender's Obituary
Marilyn Fender Profile Photo
1935 Marilyn 2023

Marilyn Fender

November 18, 1935 — June 12, 2023


Dr. Marilyn Joan Fender age 87, of Oshkosh passed away on June 12, 2023 after a long struggle with dementia.  Marilyn was born Marilyn Joan Pfaendner on Nov 18, 1935 in Wilmette, IL. Her parents were Ferdinand Edward Pfaendner (1900-1944) and Gertrude Pauline Michel Pfaendner (1902-2002). Her older brother, Ferdinand, passed away in 2008. The family changed their name to Fender in August 1939, so that it would be easier for her father's company to get business prior to World War II.

She attended New Trier High School, and Northwestern University and received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from Colorado State University in August 1979. Marilyn was a devoted educator. As with many teachers, Marilyn spent the majority of her career teaching not only students, but other teachers, becoming Department Chair of the Special Education Department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

In her youth, she was active with the Wilmette Yacht Club and enjoyed sailing on Lake Michigan. Born with a deep love of animals, Marilyn spent her life surrounded by cats and horses, but her canine companions were most precious to her. She was actively involved with the American Kennel Club and her dog, “Rascal” won the National Retriever Championship in November 1996. Rascal is still the only chocolate Labrador to win the National Championship.

She was global communications coordinator for the CNM Project to raise awareness of Centronuclear Myopathy, a genetic mutation in Labrador Retrievers that affects muscles and tendons.

Marilyn enjoyed vacationing on Sanibel Island, FL and spending her summers in Star Lake, WI at the lake cabin built by her family. She also spent many happy years at her home in Thomasville, GA with friends and colleagues in the field trial community.

She was twice a cancer survivor, breast cancer at age 30 and colon cancer at age 70.

Marilyn is survived by her nephew, Peter Fender, niece, Judy Fender Waldmann (Brad), and sister-in-law, Virginia Fender.

No formal services are planned at this time.

The family would like to thank the entire staff of Martha’s in Princeton for their truly outstanding care of our aunt. And a special thank you to her good friend, Mike Lardy, who watched over her in her final years.

Crawford Funeral and Cremation Service of Montello and Oxford is honored to be serving the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Fender, please visit our flower store.


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