Marianne Louise Chalstrom
August 18, 1936 - December 28, 2022

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Marianne Louise Chalstrom
Aug 18, 1936 - Dec 28, 2022

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom
Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support

Click to view the funeral service:

Marianne Louise (Cook) Chalstrom passed peacefully on Wednesday, December 28th, with her daughter at her side. She was born August 18, 1936, in Mason City, Iowa. At age two, she moved to Des Moines with her sister Norma Jean, mother Bertha Kloock Cook and father Adelbert Edward Cook. At 14, when her father died, she, her sister and their mother moved back to Mason City. Marianne graduated with highest honors at the top of her class from: Mason City High School, North Iowa Community College (Mason City) and Wartburg College. School activities included announcer for the school radio stations, theatre and music.

In April of 1960, she married James Chalstrom, a University of Iowa Accounting graduate. They resided in Mason City and then Algona, moving to Ames in 1969. They had two children, Anne and David.

She taught for 10 years in elementary schools in Hampton, Mason City and Algona. After moving to Ames, she was a substitute teacher in all 11 elementary schools before becoming a media center specialist at Northwood Elementary School where her children were students. She subsequently worked in the graduate college office at ISU for 2 years. When her husband developed post-polio syndrome symptoms, she started traveling with him to the State Capitol in Des Moines where he was a budget specialist for the state comptroller, and she worked as the Human Resources contact for the State Auditor's Office. Jim retired in 1993, but she continued working at the capitol, for a total of 26 years.

Marianne and Jim combined their love of history and traveling, showing their children most of the 50 states, many historic sites, 38 state capitols, and 3 Canadian provinces. Marianne served leadership roles in a variety of organizations through the years, including the League of Women Voters, Phi Kappa Phi sorority, several music organizations and various church ministry teams, including Bethesda Lutheran church council. She helped start several organizations including a chapter of the American Association of University Women in Algona, the Northwood Elementary School parent/teacher organization (PTO), a sorority chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and Ames Chamber Artists. She worked hard in many ways to help fight for opportunities for women. She spent one year in the 1960s representing the League of Women Voters speaking at the Iowa Assn. of Women's Clubs where she traveled as a speaker throughout Iowa, encouraging women to get involved in civic and political activities. In Algona, she helped achieve equal pay for women teachers. She enjoyed traveling with political campaigns and serving as an election official.

Aside from her family, her greatest love and gifts involved music. She started attending the symphony yearly at age 7 in Des Moines. She sang for over 75 years in school and/or community choral groups. She studied piano and voice privately starting at age 12. At age 13, she sang an operatic piece, receiving a standing ovation in a group recital for over 400 war veterans at Des Moines's Federal Veterans hospital. She sang in several oratorio societies. She took voice lessons in Des Moines from Mrs. Wheeler and in Ames, from Jean Thomas. She sang in small and large musical groups in public schools and college, including Wartburg College Choir tours to Colorado and other western states as well as to 5 European countries and England. She sang in the town and gown choruses at ISU with many symphonies and noted directors, including the Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Warsaw Poland symphonies. She sang in Ames Choral Society and then helped start and sang in Ames Chamber Artists for over 33 years. Marianne's other interests included sketching, book clubs and writing. For over 20 years, she wrote a weekly devotional, People of Purpose, which was sent out to readers at church and around the country on the internet.

She moved to Bloomington, MN in an Assisted Living community in 2021 to be near her daughter.

She is survived by daughter, Anne (Minneapolis), son, David and grandson Gavin James Chalstrom (Atlantic Beach, FL.) She is also survived by her sister, Dr. Norma Cook Everist, brother-in-law Pastor Burton Everist and three nephews: Joel, Kirk and Mark Everist and their families as well as several cousins and their families. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 56 years, James (Jim) Chalstrom and their parents.

Visitation will be held on January 13th at Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care in Ames from 4:30 to 7pm (414 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50010). Funeral Services to be held at Bethesda Lutheran Church (1517 Northwestern Ave, Ames, Iowa 50010) at 11:30am on January 14th, with a lunch to follow at the church, and burial at Ames Municipal Cemetery. Memorial contributions in her name can be made to Wartburg College Choir or Lutheran Services of Iowa (LSI).

A livestream link will be provided at

Online condolences may be directed to

Nancy Gealow on Jan 13, 2023

Marianne was so special to me. My deepest condolences to you Anne and David. I remember all the years I babysat as your parents traveled to Iowa City football games and many wrestling matches. I remember her beautiful singing in the choir at Bethesda. She always said” our baby sitter married our paper boy! She was special.
Love, Nancy Dyer Gealow

Tony Connor on Jan 12, 2023

Marianne and Jim were dear neighbors to my family for many years. What I remember most about Marianne is the genuine enthusiasm (zest) she had for both people and life. Whether reciting scripture for a church service or singing a tune while mowing her lawn, she always seemed to make the most of every moment. Her positive spirit was truly infectious and will be deeply missed by so many. My sincerest condolences to Anne, David, and family.

Katy Magee on Jan 9, 2023

I often speak of the genuine kindness and generosity she extended to not only me but my family. We were new to the community and learning to navigate life after divorce. I remember being dropped from the neighborhood carpool because my mother had to work and couldn’t do after school pickup. Mrs. Chalstrom would let us linger in the school library, answering questions about homework until SHE could give us a ride home after her work day. I will never forget her kindness.

Glenda Long Eggerling on Jan 5, 2023

CandleMarianne was my dear 2nd soprano buddy in Bethesda's choir. We would say something like, "Nothing beats a 2nd soprano," and then laugh like two silly kids. I will miss her voice in my life, but it will live in my memory.

Randi Peters on Dec 31, 2022

Marianne was in 2 book clubs with me. She was always interesting and fun! At Bethesda, we will remember her beautiful singing voice, her ability as a wonderful worship leader, and her wonderful smile and laugh. She was a treasure!



Add a photo


Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care
414 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010
4:30 PM - 7:00 PM


Bethesda Lutheran Church
1517 Northwestern Ave
Ames, IA 50010
11:30 AM

Iframe toggler
Find Us On Facebook
Plan Ahead
Free Grief Support
Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Sign in to add your memory

Login with Facebook

We will never post without permission

Just for verification: we never spam!

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Share Photo/Memorial Tributes

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Add to Your Calendar

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Obit Checkin

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Obituary Notifications

Grief Support

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Get Updates - tribute notifications

Marianne Louise  Chalstrom

Get Updates - SMS notifications

Thank you for sharing your memory of Marianne

Help show your support by providing a gift of flowers and spreading the word.

Spread the Word

Help friends and acquaintances of Marianne leave memories by sharing to Facebook

Share to Facebook Share on Facebook

"Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love"