Marlys Leary

Marlys M. Leary, 88, of Eau Claire passed away Sunday, November 22, 2020, at Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Eau Claire. Marlys was born on July 23, 1932, to Leo and Frances (Simon) Ensign in River Falls, Wisconsin. Her father died when Marlys was two, and her sister Bonnie was 4, but the little family persevered. Marlys graduated from River Falls High School, class of 1950. In school, Marlys played the violin in orchestra and the xylophone in marching band as well as worked at the Candy Kitchen.

In June 1960, she married U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Ed J. Leary and lived at the Marine Corps Air Station New River. In 1965, G/Sgt. Leary was assigned recruiting duty in the Eau Claire area. After Ed’s retirement from the Corps in 1972, the family settled in Eau Claire. Marlys worked at UW-Eau Claire in the University Bookstore and the School of Education. In 1973, Marlys began employment with Eau Claire County in the Department of Human Services as an Economic Support Specialist, retiring in 1997. Tired of retirement, she started as a cashier at Cub Foods and thoroughly enjoyed the job and the public contact. Marlys concluded her cashier days at Festival Foods in 2015.

Marlys was an active member of AFSCME Local 2223 and AFSCME PEOPLE as well as an Executive Board member for many years on the Eau Claire Area Labor Council AFL-CIO and Third Congressional COPE Committee. She served as a photographer and activist with the Eau Claire Democratic Party for many years. Marlys loved to play cards and bingo, do puzzles, travel and bird watch. One of her favorite activities was attending the Senior American Day lectures and programs at UWEC.

Marlys is survived by her children, Robin Leary and Rod Leary, Eau Claire and nieces and nephews. Marlys was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Bonnie Wilkins, her brother-in-law Dean Wilkins and great nephew Brian Fredrich.

A private family service will be held in the spring due to COVID restrictions.


  1. Robin,
    Your Mom had great fun with my Mom playing cards at the county. Cards were more important to relieve stress than food at their noon time games.
    I remember your Mom modeling the apron with kitchen gadgets at the bridal shower you gave for me. Thank you.
    I hope you have many fond memories of your Mom. I do.
    Your friend, Anita C Harvey

  2. Your mother was such a good, good friend. My deepest sympathy to Robin and Rod. Know that I will always remember Marlys with a smile.

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