Esther “Marilyn” Lind (nee Elfstrom), age 88, of Rockford MI, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on August 22, 2018. Marilyn was born on January 28, 1930 in Grand Rapids, MI to Mildred (Carlson) and Bill Elfstrom and was always proud of her Swedish heritage as part of the extended Carlson family in the Rockford area. She graduated from Rockford High School in 1948 and received her BA degree from Wheaton College in 1953. In 1954, she began her missionary career as the musical director at a Christian radio station in San Jose, Costa Rica. She married fellow missionary Jim Lind in the summer of 1959. Together, they served as career missionaries in Mexico and Colombia from the 1960’s through retirement in 1980. After returning to Rockford, she continued her outreach ministry by serving as the Director of the Rockford Community Service Center (now North Kent Connect) from 1980 – 1990. She spent the next 12 years dedicated to caring for Jim during years of declining health until his passing in 2002.
Marilyn had a lifelong passion for gospel music and teaching. After graduating from Wheaton, she started teaching English at Sparta Junior High in the fall of 1954 and continued teaching music, English and Spanish during her time as a missionary spanning three decades. She was always energetic, outgoing and driven. She supported the gospel printing ministry and church planting efforts in Medellin, Colombia where she was well known for her lively musical productions in the local churches and schools. Even after retiring from the mission field, she continued teaching by home-schooling her grandchildren, providing ESL classes to the Hispanic community as well as playing piano and organ for Sunday church services well into her 80’s.
Marilyn will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered by her family, friends, and all those who she touched through her music, teaching, missionary service and community outreach ministry. She is preceded in death by Jim, her husband of 43 years and older sister Connie Johnson (Elfstrom). She is survived by her daughter Jennifer (Gene) Merwin of Hermiston, OR and son Jay (Esther) Lind of Oakville Ontario and grandchildren Jacoby, Mikayla, Aiden and Josiah Merwin and grandson Andrew Lind.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the caring staff at the Guardian Angel Homes facility in Hermiston OR for the special care they provided for Marilyn in her last years.
A memorial service for Marilyn will be celebrated by Pastor Justin Rowland at 11:00 Saturday Oct 27th at the Rockford Baptist Church, 221 Courtland Street – Rockford MI 49341 There will be an hour of visitation prior to the service and a time of fellowship and refreshments afterwards.