Cover photo for Marilyn Heinke's Obituary
1924 Marilyn 2021

Marilyn Heinke

October 11, 1924 — February 1, 2021

Dr. Marilyn Lillian Brenne Heinke joined her heavenly family on February 1, 2021, at 2:06pm EST. Her loving family was by her side, holding her hand as she passed into His waiting hands. Special thank you to Brenda and her family for taking care of Mom in her final days and Jon for bringing Mom back home to Seymour.

Dr. Marilyn Brenne Heinke was born in Libertyville, IL on October 11, 1924, to Mr. Richard J. Brenne and Mrs. Lillian Eva Gursky Brenne. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Orville James Heinke; her parents; her sister, Vivian Lake; and her nephews: Richard H. Bergstrom and Donald H. Bergstrom.

Besides her love for optometry Marilyn had a deep love for her family, and she never failed to tell anyone who would listen about their accomplishments. She wanted everyone to know she was the matriarch of a family of successful entrepreneurs, technical sales representative, lawyer, restaurant owner, high school associate principal, engineers, doctors of optometry, medical doctor, 4 grandchildren that were valedictorians, association presidents, and a best-selling author.

She is survived by her daughters Brenda H. (Anthony) Montecalvo, Charleen (Bill) Heinke Klein; sons: Jon B. (Melody) Heinke, and James O. (Cari) Heinke; her grandchildren: Andrew Montecalvo, Clarice Montecalvo, Natalie (Francesco) Maiorca, Madilyn Heinke, McKendra Heinke, Mercede Heinke, Nolan Heinke, Noah Heinke, Nixon Heinke, Maraya Heinke, Brady Heinke, Owen Heinke, Isabella Heinke, Amber VandenHeuvel, Courtney Boncher, Scotty Barribeau; ten great grandkids: grandpups, Jack and Jill the Mastiffs, Scarlet, Shadow, Piper, and Stella; nephews: Will H. Bergstrom, and Robert J. Lake; nieces: Ruth Ann Lake, and Gina Bichoff; other relatives and friends, and lots of great-grand cats.

At an early age Marilyn was noted for her high level of intelligence. Her nickname in high school was, “The Brain”. She received her doctorate from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry. She was passionate about her work as an optometrist and would proudly announce that she began practicing the day before VJ Day (August 15, 1945). She established her practice in Manitowoc, Wisconsin with Dr. Ed LaCourse, where she practiced until 1958 when she married her beloved husband Orville who was from New London, Wisconsin. She set up a new practice in Seymour, Wisconsin where she helped thousands of children improve their visual skills so they could be successful at school and life. Because she practiced optometry for 70 years there are numerous stories of her helping struggling students that went on to become doctors, engineers and happy, successful adults. She mentored many optometrists and was known throughout Wisconsin for her high-level skills in the area of optometric vision therapy. She lectured about vision therapy well over 1000 times because she felt the message was so important.

Marilyn was loved by her colleagues all over the world. She was an excellent speaker, knew Dale Carnegie personally, and was extremely active in both National and State Optometric Associations. She was known to rise in the wee hours of the morning to have coffee with her friends either at a WOA, COVD, CSO, NORA or an OEP meeting, as well as at her local Seymour restaurant. She loved to have lively, jovial, and in-depth conversations with her Seymour “gang". Ask her about her family, and she was ready with a mini album to show you all of them, and brag about their accomplishments.

She was an active member of her church. She was recognized for her numerous years of volunteer work with Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Special Olympics, EAA, and the local chamber when Seymour organized “Home of the Hamburger” celebrations. In 2015 she was awarded Optometrist of the Year for the State of Wisconsin, and it meant so much to her to be honored by her friends and colleagues. She met motivational speaker Anthony Robbins and walked on a bed of hot coals at his seminar at the ripe age of 65. She received or served as Society President, Education Committee Chair, Industrial Relations Committee, Children’s Vision Committee, American Optometric Association Department of Public Information Committee, Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes Program Wisconsin, Who’s Who in the Midwest, Optometric Recognition Award—American Optometric Association, Curtis F. Kenitz Optometric Service Award—Wisconsin Optometric Association 2010.

So many friends and colleagues from all over the world have referred to her as their surrogate mom, and she loved giving them advice on how they should prescribe plus lenses. She was always willing to help anyone.  Ask her for anything and if she could do it, she would.  If not, she would call someone anywhere in the world to find out how to help.

Mom loved yellow roses, but she also loved to support optometry. If you choose to honor her please donate to the Marilyn Brenne Heinke Scholarship at the Vision Leads Foundation, or plant a flowering tree in her name and remember her each year as it blooms.

A visitation for Marilyn will take place at Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, Seymour, on Friday, February 5, 2021 from 12 noon until 1:30 pm. A private family service will take place with Pastor Ty Stoneburner officiating. The private service will be live streamed on the Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home Facebook page at 2:00 pm. Burial will be at Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Seymour.

Due to COVID, please be respectful by wearing a face mask and abide by social distancing guidelines.

Online condolences may be expressed to Marilyn's family at
To send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Heinke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 5, 2021

12:00 - 1:30pm (Central time)

Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home

358 S Main St, Seymour, WI 54165

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