It's the little things: Harry and Marlene's story

“You won’t believe how I met her,” said Harry Stock. Both Harry and his wife, Marlene, grew up on farms near Northrup, Minnesota. They met in 1946­­—he was 12 and she was nine. When Harry talks about Marlene, it’s the little things that make him smile. Riding the yellow school bus each day and how she always saved him a seat. Taking her out to the A&W restaurant in nearby Fairmont for a root beer when they were older. “She was so beautiful,” he said, “and very, very smart.”

Marlene went to business school and started working in the insurance industry. Harry went to Mankato State University to get a Master’s degree in education, and they married when Harry was in college. After college, the Stocks lived in Puerto Rico for eight years while Harry served in the Air Force as a staff sergeant. Once Harry’s term was over, they moved to New Ulm, Minnesota, and raised their two boys, Neil and Todd. Harry went on to be a teacher and principal of two schools. By the time the Stocks retired, they had a home in Park Rapids and Florida, traveling between the two based on the season.

Marlene had surgery in February 2020, and their family had been working to help them move back to Minnesota for extra help and support. Unfortunately, their efforts were put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple that had spent nearly their entire lives together was suddenly forced to be apart during an already challenging time. Harry was heartbroken: he wasn’t able to see his wife while staying quarantined in their condo, and so their family made arrangements for a care attendant to help Harry during the day.

Sadly, Marlene contracted an infection during her recovery and passed away—but not before Harry made it to her side. After nearly five months, the Stocks were reunited during Marlene’s final days. Soon after, Harry moved to Walker Methodist Highview Hills in Lakeville, and though he is grappling with a recent loss, he still smiles at the little things. In fact, team members at Highview Hills would say Harry helps them find joy, too. Harry is a natural encourager, someone who recognizes the hard work of those around him and shows his appreciation daily. Because of his joyful spirit and positive verbal affirmations, Harry’s become quite the inspiration. “I miss her so very much,” he said. “But the people here are really wonderful. I appreciate everything they do.”

Topics: Communities, Our Stories, Featured

Amy Weiss

Written by Amy Weiss

Walker Methodist storyteller and marketing assistant

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