Cover photo for Marilyn Mcmahan's Obituary
1938 Marilyn 2020

Marilyn Mcmahan

April 5, 1938 — August 8, 2020

Marilyn Robertson McMahan, 82 of Salem, Utah, died peacefully surrounded by her family at her son's home in Woodland Hills, Utah on August 8, 2020. She was out for her usual evening walk on Thursday, August 6, when she had an aneurysm that resulted in a brain bleed and left her unconscious, but breathing until the morning of the 8th. Her daughters were able to make it from out of state so that all four of her children were there to hold her hand and say goodbye as she slept. Many of her grandchildren were also with her in her final hours.

Marilyn was born on April 5, 1938 in Gilmer, Texas, youngest child of John Wesley and Edna Harmer Robertson, and after 3 years spent the rest of her youth in Los Angeles, California. Marilyn received a Home Economics teaching degree from Brigham Young University in 1959. She married John F. Cowley of Heber, Utah and after their divorce married Robert E. McMahan of Owl's Head, Maine.

Marilyn lived 82 robustly healthy years, enjoying every adventure that life could offer. She was enthusiastic about trying new things and seeing everything she could in this life. She loved to travel and wanted to see all the world and enjoyed several trips abroad with family. She was a strong and steady presence in the lives of all who knew her, and all who knew her loved her. She was generous with her time and always happy to teach children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-nieces, especially cooking and sewing. She had a way of always being present, even when she was not. Such a calm and happy homemaker, that her children felt she was always there, even though she at times worked two or three jobs to keep them fed or in braces. She was a shining example of making the best of any situation, never complaining even though life was often hard. She always put others' needs before her own and was true to her word.

Marilyn lived to serve, and showed this by engaging with the Senior Companions program as a caretaker for less able seniors, starting when she was 81. She served in many different capacities within her various LDS wards for all her life, from California to Utah to Maine (and back again). She was always happy to take on new challenges and always gave her very best effort. Her involvement with her church was absolute. It was woven into the fiber of her greatness, and she lived it fully. She made everyone feel welcome and included, no matter their beliefs. She was the very embodiment of acceptance and unconditional love, gently mothering all those she encountered.

Marilyn did very little for herself, and only parceled out the pleasure of reading one chapter at a time, as a reward for completing a chore, even in her retirement. She loved reading so much. She enjoyed sewing or crocheting baby blankets for the grand- and great-grandchildren, and even signed on to sew COVID masks this spring. She was a diligent participant in Family History Indexing.

Marilyn leaves behind four children and two step-children: John R. Cowley (Kathy) of Orem, UT; Mark R. Cowley (Tracy) of Woodland Hills, UT; Julie McMahan Walsh (Michael) of Leonardtown, MD; and Lisa McMahan Whitman (Michael) of Spring Mount, PA; and Linda Mastera of Owl's Head, ME; Robert McMahan, Jr. of Owl's Head, ME; and grandchildren: Mariah Cowley Christensen, Andrea Cowley Egbert, Benjamin Cowley, Stephen Cowley, Joshua Cowley, Taylor Cowley; Jennifer Cowley Clive, Lindsay Cowley Lee, Megan Cowley, Tyler Cowley; Oliver Anderson, Maxwell Anderson; Anthony Walsh, Evan Walsh, Aria Walsh; Steven Boivin, Tanya Robishaw, Herbert Harford; Erica McMahan Dever, Elena McMahan, Gabrielle McMahan; Devon McMahan; and 11 great grandchildren. Marilyn is survived by her brother Donald Robertson as well as her special friend, Leo, who courted her so sweetly these last few years. Marilyn was predeceased by her husband Robert McMahan, her brothers Jay Robertson and Bert Robertson, her sisters Elaine Ellison and Beth Robertson; her stepson Randy McMahan and grandson Danny Curtis.

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