Marilyn Eliene McNeer Trudell was born September 12, 1946 in Charleston, West-By-God-Virginia to Marshall and Eliene McNeer. She was a happy and mischievous child who loved nothing more than learning to cook by her beloved Nanny’s side. Marilyn and her elder sisters, Layne and Sue, relocated to Florida after a health scare, where Eliene was remarried to JJ Ralston, and they raised the girls with humor and affection. At 23 years of age, Marilyn married the dashing Dennis Trudell. Sadly widowed at 31, she went on to raise her three daughters—Amy, Layne, and Amanda—as a strong, single mother. She instilled her own independence, perseverance, and commitment to family in her girls. Marilyn was a dedicated drug and alcohol counselor who had a soft spot for those who struggled. In turn, she could not go into a grocery store without collecting at least three life stories. People simply felt comfortable sharing with Marilyn, and she never turned a deaf ear to anyone in need. She loved her children, reading, cooking (her chili could have won awards), the British royal family (watching Princess Di’s funeral and Will’s wedding was a mandatory family experience), and the Olympics (summer and winter with equal fervor). Marilyn had laughing brown eyes, a wicked sense of humor, and a lifelong love affair with nicotine. Cigarettes led to advanced COPD, which she battled with remarkable fortitude. Through breathing struggles and pain, she never, ever lost her smile. She passed peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones, on Friday, October 2, 2015. Though she had challenges in life and faced many losses, including her mother, father, step-father, sister Sue, husband, and in-laws Helen and Donald Trudell, she led a life rich with the love of family, friends, and in the end, compassionate caretakers. She leaves behind her daughter Amy and husband Mark and granddaughters Jaden and Jensen; her daughter Layne and granddaughters Madison and Mackenzie; daughter Amanda; sister Layne; and beloved nephews and nieces. We know she’s now happily ensconced in the smoking section of heaven, dancing up a storm with those gone before. A celebration of her life will be held at her favorite park on Wednesday, October 7. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to Florida Literacy Coalition or a charity close to your heart.