In memory of

Marlene J. Orham age 85, of Keizer, OR formerly of Helena

August 21, 1933 – December 27, 2018

ORHAM, Marlene J. age 85 of Keizer, OR formerly of Helena passed away Thursday, December 27, 2018.

Marlene was born in Billings, MT August 21, 1933 to James and Mary Crane.  Marlene was proud of the fact that her great grandparents were Montana pioneers who settled in Fort Benton.  Her favorite memories include spending hours riding her big, gentle horse “Nig” and going to the matinee to watch “Westerns”.

The family moved back to Fort Benton when Marlene was 15 because of her father’s health.  She was heartbroken when her beloved father passed away two years later.  After graduating high school, she briefly attended Univ of MT in Missoula.  Marlene then moved to Billings and worked with Consolidated Freightways.

Marlene’s step-father Frank Rowe owned a farm/ranch outside of Fort Benton. “Swede” Orham was helping Frank out one summer, on college break and after serving in the Air Force. Frank introduced Marlene and Swede. They married May 31, 1959.

They made their home in Billings where Swede was employed with Mountain Bell/US West. In the Sixties they had 3 children, Sue, Andrew, and Heidi. The family moved to the Billings country-side in 1972 to get back to their country roots. Promotions for Swede moved the family to Glendive in 1976, then to Helena in 1980.

Marlene’s interests became 4-H mom and leader, raising kids, sheep, and cattle. Her title was the “Chief livestock buyer, cook, and bottle-washer of the O-5 Ranch.”

Marlene’s sweet, loving manner and her excellent ability to bake cookies, pies, and all manner of baked goods made for a warm home environment. Friends and relations spent many an hour at Marlene and Swede’s enjoying good times, great coffee, and tasty treats from Marlene’s oven. Friends have said they were just driving by and had to stop because they could just smell Marlene baking something.

Space does not permit to truly delve into the amazingly wonderful woman, friend and mother Marlene was. To say she will be missed is a most grave understatement.

Marlene is proceeded in death by her father, mother, husband Swede, and brother Jim.  Surviving her are her children:  Mary Suzanne Orham of Keizer, OR, Andy Orham (D’Ann) of Helena, MT, Heidi (Tom) Ries of Kila, MT. Grandchildren: Luke Orham, Jessica (Fabiano) Silva, Shawn (Josie) Ries and Michelle Ries.  Great grandchildren:  Agnes, Antonio, Sebastian Silva, Philomena and Regina Ries.

May Our Lord and Our Lady bless you Marlene in eternity.

A Rosary will be held at 9:30 a.m., January 7th, at Holy Cross Church, 449 N. Hoback St, Helena. A Funeral Mass will be 10:00 a.m., January 7th, also at Holy Cross Church. A rite of committal will follow the Funeral Mass at Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Fort, Harrison. A reception will immediately follow the rite of committal at The American Legion, 3095 Villard Ave.   Please visit below to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Marlene.


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Thomas Bishop says

    I’ll always remember the hospitality Marlene showed to me and my family on Spokane Creek Road. Sunday evening coffee and pie! Helping with my kids through 4-H. The always welcome smile on her face when we would just stop by for a chat. She was a fun special lady and she will be missed.

  2. Elizabeth Riggin says

    Marlene was an amazing mom and close to our family. She will be missed very much.

  3. HEIDI RIES says

    Mom, God bless you for your deep, loving kindness. So glad you are no longer suffering in this world. Hope to be joyful with you in the next. I will miss laughing with you. Love you so much,

  4. Marlene and Swede were two very special people who will be missed. I am sure heaven is having a party.

  5. Grandma O, was a joy, she was always happy and had a funny or helpful answer to everything. How we will miss her. We need more people like her who fill your tummy with good food and you heart with love.
    We love you and will miss you Greatly,
    Chris, Toni, Christopher, Nicholas, Rose, your little curly head Francis, Maria, Anna, Angelina, Germaine and Bridget Ries

  6. Myrlin Schatz says

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of your Mother. She and Swede were such good honest people, I was a 4-H member when they were active. Swede was a very jolly person, Marlene was always full of smiles, bright and Happy.

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