Marilyn Warden

Marilyn was my mother's first cousin and one of a number of people from Bloomington, Indiana, whose company we were able to enjoy all too infrequently. The last time we saw her was in about 1991 when she and Wayne were visiting their daughter, who was living near San Diego at the time. We took our granddaughters with us and our daughter also joined us. We all had a picnic in a park and our grandchildren and Dede and Hunter, who are about the same ages, had fun playing together.

This obituary, which must have appeared in the Bloomington Herald-Times, was sent to us by another cousin who guessed that Marilyn had written it herself. We would have agreed, since Marilyn was a meticulous person who was very proud of her family heritage and of being an Indiana University graduate, but we later heard from her son John who said he had written most of it, with some help from his dad.

Marilyn Seward Warden, 80

MAY 3,1923 - FEB. 5, 2004

Marilyn Seward Warden, 80, died on Feb. 5th, 2004 at home in Bloomington, Indiana.

She was born May 3rd, 1923 in Bloomington, Indiana to Edith Regester Seward and William Austin Seward.

The Seward family was one of Bloomington's founders. Austin Seward settled in Bloomington in 1821 as a blacksmith and forged the fish which has served as the weather vane for the Monroe County Courthouse since 1826. Marilyn was the fifth generation of the Seward family.

Marilyn graduated from University High School in 1940 and Indiana University in 1944 with a B.S. degree in Business. While at IU she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and continued to serve on their alumni board. She was thrilled when her daughter, Nancy and granddaughter, Amy also became Kappa's. An avid supporter of IU academics and athletics, Marilyn was also a life member of the IU Alumni Association.

After graduation from IU, she attended graduate school at the IU School of Business and then worked for the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency in Washington, D.C. While serving as a teaching associate in the School of Business, Marilyn met Lt. Wayne Warden. Jr. (USAF) and they were married on June 8th, 1947.

Marilyn was very proud of her Monroe County heritage and served as a docent at the Monroe County Historical Society Museum. She served on many community organizations, including Indiana University Foundation, Red Cross, Meals-On-Wheels, Psi Iota Xi and the Bloomington Hospital Auxiliary. She was a member of the Unique Club, Conversation Club, University Club and the Bloomington Country Club. She was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church (currently First United Church) and was active in many church functions.

In addition to her husband, Marilyn is survived by her sister Nancy Seward Taylor, her four children, all IU graduates, and their spouses; Dr. John Warden (Ann) and their children; Andrew, Amy and Ben, James Warden (Marcie) and their children; Matthew and Kristin; Jeffrey Warden (Pam) and their children; Meredith and Nick and Nancy Wroblewski (Mark) and their children; Dede and Hunter and three nephews; Tim, Peter, and Kevin Kochery.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 10th, 2004, at the First United Church, 2420 B. Third St. in Bloomington. Private burial services will be at Dunn Cemetery on the Indiana University campus.1 Friends may call at Allen Funeral Home on Monday, February 9th, 2004 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the IU School of Music or the Monroe County Historical Society in care of Allen Funeral Home.

Wayne sent to us the following report of Marilyn's burial in Dunn cemetery, from an article in the Campus section of the 16 Feb 2004 edition of the Indiana Daily Student:

IU graduate one of few left to be buried at Dunn Cemetery

Descendant of Bloomington founding family laid to rest

By Vanessa Caruso
Indiana Daily Student

Though Dunn Cemetery existed six years before IU's first buildings, its history is narrower than the plot of land where it lies. While the cemetery is located within campus grounds, IU does not own it, nor do many people know much about it.

Situated on the east side of the Indiana Memorial Union, students pass the cemetery on a daily basis. Except for the occasional tale told close to Halloween, the cemetery rarely becomes the subject of conversation.

Last week, however, several students noticed some workers digging on the cemetery grounds. While the sight might have sparked the curiosity of several passersby, this was not an out-of-season Halloween story.

On the afternoon of Feb. 10, Marilyn Seward Warden was buried during a private service held at the Dunn Cemetery. Warden, a descendent of one of Bloomington's founding families, attended IU as both sn undergraduate and a graduate student. Her four children are also all IU graduates. Throughout her life, she has served many of Bloomington's community organizations, including the IU Foundation and Psi Iota Xi.

Since IU does not own the cemetery, it was not involved in the burial. In fact, Dave Hurst, director of grounds services at IU, said the University is not responsible for any of the cemetery's upkeep.

"All we do is keep it clean of leaves and trash," Hurst said.

Hurst has worked for IU's ground services for 12 years. Since he has been at IU, there have been only three burials. Everything he knows about the cemetery he learned from a couple of people who are now buried there before they passed away.

He said information about the cemetery gets harder and harder to find as the descendants who are eligible to be buried in it pass away. The extent of his knowledge to date about the cemetery is collected in a thin file he keeps in his office. Along with some handwritten notes, the file contains a couple of newspaper clippings, some drawings of the cemetery plot, a few obituaries and a copy of the deed.

According to the deed to the cemetery, George G. Dunn has granted these private burial grounds to descendants of Eleanor Dunn, Nancy Alexander and Jane Irwin. The cemetery is also reserved for anyone with whom the descendants intermarry. In the deed, Dunn grants never-ending access to these private burial grounds.

When the University bought parts of the Dunn family's farmland, it was required to build around the cemetery.

The oldest grave still stands, belonging to 17-year-old Jennet Steward,2 who was buried in 1814 - two years before Indiana became a state. Yet despite the cemetery's old age, a centralized collection of information about it does not exist. Most of what is known about the cemetery is a combination of legends and facts.

Linda Degh. distinguished professor emeritus with the Department of Folklore, said some students have seen footprints around the graves or watched as the inscriptions on the graves light up in the dark. She said she is unaware of any detailed stories about this cemetery.

"Legends are being created all the time," Degh said. "People make legends about things they do not know about. It's soothing."

As the information gets passed from generation to generation, the cemetery's past gets harder to find. But Degh is confident legends will be created to fill in the missing pieces.

-- Contact staff writer Vanessa Caruso at vcaruso@indiana.edu.

We found the following obituary at University High School's class of 1940 page at RootsWeb:

Marilyn Seward Warden, 80, died on Feb. 5th, 2004 at home in Bloomington, Indiana. She was born May 3rd, 1923 in Bloomington, Indiana to Edith Regester Seward and William Austin Seward. The Seward family was one of Bloomington's founders. Austin Seward settled in Bloomington in 1821 as a blacksmith and forged the fish which has served as the weather vane for the Monroe County Courthouse since 1826. Marilyn was the fifth generation of the Seward family.

While serving as a teaching associate for the School of Business, Marilyn met Lt. Wayne Warden, Jr. (USAF) and they were married on June 8th, 1947. In addition to her husband, Marilyn is survived by her sister Nancy Seward Taylor (UHS '43), her four children, all IU graduates, and their spouses.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 10th, 2004, at the First United Church, 2420 E. Third St. in Bloomington. Private burial services will be at Dunn Cemetery on the Indiana University campus. Friends may call at Allen Funeral Home on Monday, February 9th, 2004 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the IU School of Music or the Monroe County Humane Association in care of Allen Funeral Home.

Marilyn's daughter Nancy's picture appeared on page 5 of the August 2006 issue of the Monroe County Historian, published by the Monroe County Historical Society, Inc., along with a group of members of the Bloomington Garden Club. Not surprisingly, she looks a lot like her mother!


1Coincidentally, an article in the same magazine where Nancy's picture appears mentions Marilyn's burial, stating: "The last burial there was upon the death of Marilyn Seward Warden, February 2004." The article repeats the misinformation about the cemetery's first burial alluded to in the next footnote.
2 This may be a misreading of information on one of the Seward stones. To the best of my knowledge, the first person buried in the Dunn cemetery was Austin Seward's baby boy who was interred there in 1832. There is no Jennet Seward mentioned in the list of persons buried there.
This page was last updated 8 Dec 2012.