Marlene Ann Lantz, 70, Rensselaer, Ind., formerly of McHenry, died Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, at IU Health Arnett Hospital, La Fayette, Ind.
She was born Jan. 5, 1947, to Edward Kettmann and Mariette Griesmar in Streator.
She attended St. Mary Catholic School, Woodstock, and graduated from Marian Central Catholic High School in 1965.
She studied at Elgin Community College and the Milwaukee School of Mortuary Science. She received her professional license in 1970 and worked at hospitals and Wait-Ross-Allanson Funeral Home, Algonquin, until she became chief deputy coroner for McHenry County in 1980. She was elected McHenry County corner in 1988 and retired in 2012. She served a two-week stint as McHenry County Sheriff in 1993.
She completed courses in forensic medicine and police science and worked tirelessly to uncover how deaths occurred and to find ways to prevent such tragedies in the future.
She 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.
In her spare time, she traveled to Wisconsin and Southern Illinois to go “junkin,’” searching for treasures in antique stores and junk shops. She liked carpentry and repurposing old items.
She enjoyed reading and watching crime stories with her beloved cats and most recently adopted kittens, Sam and Otis.
Survivors include her mother, Woodstock; three sisters, Judith Kettmann, McHenry, Karen Wilson (Peter VanTuyl), Captain Cook, Hawaii, and Linda (Ray) White, Wonder Lake; a brother, Alan (Fay) Wilson, Woodstock; nephews, Ben White and Matthew (Meghan Nelson) White; a niece, Hannah Wilson; and a great-niece, Penelope White.
She was preceded in death by her father and her stepfather, Vernon Wilson.
In keeping with her wishes, her body was donated to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee.
A gathering of friends and family was held Oct. 15 at Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary, Woodstock.
Donations can be made in Marlene’s name to the McHenry County Historical Society or Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Woodstock.