Marilyn (Molly) Jane Gerlich, 96, passed away peacefully on April 4, 2024, at the New Homestead in Guthrie Center. She was the daughter of Paul and Gladys Adams and was born April 22, 1927, in Mt. Carroll, Illinois. Molly graduated from Galena High School in Galena, Illinois, in 1945.

On June 10, 1946, Molly was united in marriage to Irvin Gerlich in their hometown of Galena. To this union, five children were born. In 1964, The Gerlich family moved to West Des Moines. Molly was a homemaker and loving mother, always placing the needs and happiness of her children and family above her own. After Irv’s retirement, the couple moved to Lake Panorama where they made their home in 1979. They developed Boulder Cove Colony and Clover Ridge, then leased Lake Panorama National Golf Course to construct the Conference Center. Before his passing in 1997, Molly and Irv made significant contributions to the foundation of what Lake Panorama is today.

At age 78 and while at a 60th class reunion, Molly reunited with her childhood friend, Jim Hartman. Their friendship grew, and they were married on Dec. 31, 2005. They lived at Lake Panorama and then moved to a retirement community in West Des Moines for 12 years until Jim’s death in 2018.

Molly is survived by her son, Jay (Karen) Gerlich of Panora; daughter, Jule (Ted) Reynolds of Des Moines; daughter, Lonna (Kevin) Nauman of Panora; son-in-law Stan (Kim) Thornberry; special nieces Ellen (Dave) Elliott, Jane (Bob) Frazier; and nephews Jack (Jackie) Lickes and Keith (Donna) Gerlich; her deeply loved eight grandchildren, Ann Stutler, Curt Thornberry, Maggie Armstrong, Mari Brown, Erin Gerlich, Adam Reynolds, Liz Ratcliff and Wyatt Nauman; nine great-grandchildren; and her amazing life-long friends, Norma Clegg and Marilee Rice.

She was proceeded in death by her parents; her husband, Irv Gerlich; infant daughter, Lora Lee; daughter, Lynn Thornberry; second husband, Jim Hartman; sister, Carmen; and brother, Jack.

Molly was very active and enjoyed life to the fullest. There was seldom an empty day on her calendar. She loved dancing, big band music, golf, bridge and many long-lasting friendships. She was a member of PEO Chapter BY, Questers, United Methodist Church, and Lake Panorama Women’s Golf League.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Friday, April 12, 2024, at the Twigg Funeral Home, Panora. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Burial will follow at the Brethren Cemetery, Panora.

Memorial contributions can be made in Molly’s memory to the Panora United Methodist Church.