Marlys was born in Yakima, Washington on March 28, 1931 to Miller and Helen Stewart. She passed away peacefully on August 13, 2021 in her home in Spokane surrounded by her family. Marlys and her younger sister grew up in Snoqualmie, WA where she attended school, graduating from Mt. Si High School in 1949. She went on to attend Washington State College (WSC) and earned a B.A. in Elementary Education, graduating in 1953. While at WSC she was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority. It was during her junior year in college she met the love of her life, Gene Rieger. After her graduation from college Marlys and Gene were married on August 8, 1953. They had a long and happy marriage of 54 years. In 1954 Gene and Marlys built their home in the Spokane Valley where Marlys lived until her death 67 years later. Home was a very special place filled with love and laughter and where she and Gene raised their four children: Debra Rieger Vaudrin, Spokane, WA; John (MaryAnn) Rieger, Spokane Valley, WA; Merri Rieger, Port Orchard, WA; and Tom Rieger, Spokane Valley, WA. Also welcomed to the Rieger family home were their three grandchildren; Brandi Rieger, Oxnard, CA; Joshua Rieger, Spokane Valley, WA; Summer (David) Milson, Cheney, WA. Marlys was blessed with six great grandchildren; Johnathan, Brooks and Wyatt Rieger; and Cloie, McKenna and Lincoln Milson. Marlys also enjoyed the love of her sister, nieces and nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and wonderful, generous and caring friends and neighbors.
Marlys taught kindergarten and first grade in the West Valley School District for over 20 years at Pasadena Park and Orchard Center elementary schools. She helped hundreds of students learn to read and love learning. She had the gift of seeing the world through “childlike eyes” which made learning fun and meaningful for her students as well as her own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Marlys received the Golden Acorn from PTA for her skills and dedication. She was also an active member of WEA. In addition to raising her four children and teaching full time, Marlys was a member of La Gaiety, volunteered as a Friend of the Library, supported Rainbow Girls and was an Election Board volunteer. After her retirement she volunteered for many years at Valley Hospital. Marlys loved spending time with Gene and her family at their lake cabin. Her love for flowers, especially wild flowers was passed forward to her children and grandchildren. Marlys was an avid reader and she loved to fish with Gene and Debbie. Marlys and Gene enjoyed traveling to different places in the United States and Canada making many happy memories. Marlys was preceded in death by her loving husband Gene Rieger, her parents Helen and Miller Stewart and her sister Barbara Van De Vanter.
Services will be held on Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm at Hennessey Valley Funeral Home, 1315 N. Pines, Spokane Valley, WA 99206. Memorials may be made to American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Smile Train or Union Gospel Mission.
To share memories of Marlys or leave condolences for her family, visit her Tribute Wall.
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American Lung Association
55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago IL 60601
American Heart Association
PO Box 742030, Los Angeles CA 90074-2030
633 Third Avenue, 9th Floor, New York NY 10017
Union Gospel Mission
1224 E. Trent Ave, Spokane WA 99202