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Marlene A. Lantz

January 5, 1947 ~ October 5, 2017 (age 70)

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October 15, 2017

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Schneider Leucht Merwin Cooney
1211 North Seminary Avenue / P.O. Box 22
Woodstock, IL 60098

Marlene Ann Lantz, age 70, of Rensselaer, Indiana (formerly of McHenry), passed away on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at IU Health Arnett Hospital in LaFayette, IN.

She was born in Streator, IL on January 5, 1947 to Edward A. Kettmann and Mariette A. Griesmar.  She attended St. Mary's School in Woodstock and graduated from Marian Central Catholic High School in 1965. 

After high school, Marlene studied at Elgin Community College and the Milwaukee School of Mortuary Science where she earned her apprentice license as a Funeral Director and an embalmer.  She began working as a morgue and autopsy assistant and received her professional license in 1970 and worked for Sherman Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, IL and Wait-Ross-Allanson Funeral Home in Algonquin until she became Chief Deputy Coroner for McHenry County under Alvin Querhammer in 1980.

In 1988, she was elected Coroner for McHenry County.  Her career as Coroner spanned 24 years until her retirement in 2012. During this time, she also served a two week stint as McHenry County Sheriff in 1993 when George Hendle retired and before the County Board appointed his replacement.  

With a never ending passion for knowledge, she completed courses in forensic medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine, Wayne State University and at Northern Illinois University in addition to police science courses at Elgin Community College.  The investigative aspect of Marlene's job was her most favorite as she worked tirelessly to uncover how deaths occurred and to find ways to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Throughout her career, Marlene was involved in the investigation of multiple homicides, natural deaths, airplane crashes, motor vehicle crashes and suicides.  She assisted in several major murder investigations and was very proud of the positive working relationships she established with law enforcement officials, rescue and fire personnel, physicians and funeral directors during those years. 

Marlene used her training and experience to teach at local schools and out of state colleges/universities about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse.  She conducted mock prom accident re-enactments at local high schools.  She gave freely of her time to comfort friends and family members of deceased; keeping in touch with many of them for years after the death of their loved ones. 

In her spare time, Marlene liked to go "junkin".  She would travel to Wisconsin or southern Illinois to hit antique stores and "junk shops" to search out new and unusual "treasures" to add to her collections.  She would stop for a burger and a beer and chat with the locals.  She enjoyed reading and watching crime stories with her beloved cats and most recently adopted two kittens, "Sam" & "Otis".  She liked carpentry, repurposing old items and doing remodeling work on her home and in her yard. 

Marlene is survived by her mother, Mariette Wilson, Woodstock; three sisters: Judith Kettmann, McHenry; Karen Wilson (Peter VanTuyl), Captain Cook, Hawaii;  Linda (Ray) White, Wonder Lake and a brother, Alan (Fay) Wilson, Woodstock.  She was the cherished aunt of Ben White, Matthew (Meghan Nelson) White, and Hannah Wilson and great aunt of niece, Penelope White, born August 13, 2017. She is preceded in death by her father, Edward Kettmann and her stepfather, Vernon Wilson.

In keeping with her wishes, her body was donated to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 

A gathering of friends and family will be held on Sunday, October 15, 2017 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Schneider  Leucht Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary, Woodstock.   In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests any donations be made in Marlene's name to the McHenry County Historical Society or Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Woodstock. 

Charitable donations may be made to:

McHenry County Historical Society
6422 Main Street, Union IL 60180
Tel: 1-815-923-2267

Helping Paws Animal Shelter
2500 Harding Lane, Woodtock IL 60098
Tel: 1-815-338-4400

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