Marilyn Jean Zibilich, 74, beloved mother, wife and friend, passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer on August 2, 2023, at her home in Eureka alongside George, her loving husband of 52 years. Born in West Liberty, Iowa, on November 30, 1948, she graduated from St. Clara Academy in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin and then Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. In 1970 she married George Zibilich and became the loving mother to Nathan, Matthew and Ariana and was blessed to be ‘Nona’ to seven grandchildren.

Throughout her life, Marilyn was dedicated to her husband, children, family, friends, education, caring for others and her faith. She was a schoolteacher, a manager of volunteer services at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital and a strong believer in Catholic education. She loved and cared for her own mother in her final years, and remained close to her seven siblings dotted across the country. In 2005 she was honored with Values in Action award for excellence at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Her days with the volunteer program did not end at 5 p.m. She would often times work at home in the evenings or on weekends to make sure everything was perfect to her standards which were very high. She was always doing special things for her family, friends and the volunteer program. She had many friends and always enjoyed quick witted conversations with a gin and tonic. She enjoyed going on long walks with her girlfriends, getting together for coffee and pastries, and good conversation. She especially adored Sisters Weekends in Southern California with several of her sisters and nieces. She enjoyed travelling in much of America and many countries in Europe and Asia. Christmas was her favorite time of year and every birthday had to be celebrated with a piece of chocolate cake. For Christmas she worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone got special gifts and the meals were delectable.

She loved her outdoor flower garden and pampered the flowers to perfection. She also enjoyed playing board games with her family and friends and was a fierce competitor. After living in Colorado for 3 1/2 years, she became a lifelong Denver Broncos fan. She enjoyed reading works of fiction, especially mysteries. She continued to support St Bernards high school long after her children had graduated.

She was active in Women for Wellness, Humboldt Sponsors, and Family of Joseph. She could light up a room with her charming smile. Her friends have all said she was the leader of many of the different groups she participated with, organizing the get together‘s to make sure everyone could attend. Many of the sympathy cards have said she was the nicest person they had ever met.

She leaves to mourn her beloved husband George, sons Nathan (Christine), Matthew (Mary), daughter Ariana Galla (Bob), seven grandchildren, Vera, Dominic, Finnoula, Olivia, Malia, Christian and Reagan, her sisters Bernadette, Joanne, Patricia and Margo (preceded by Dolores), brothers Tom and Bernard, and 14 nieces and nephews. She was preceded by her parents, Mildred and Edwin Ruess.

Marilyn’s funeral mass will be held Oct 14 (Sat) at St. Bernard’s Church at noon followed by celebration of life at the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Bernard Catholic Church, Hospice of Humboldt, breast cancer program at Stanford University, or any other charity that one wishes to donate to.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Marilyn Zibilich’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email