Family and friends mourn the passing of Marlyss Joy Long, born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan and a resident of Okotoks, Alberta. Marlyss passed away at the Maui Memorial Hospital on February 18, 2019, at the age 51. Her daughters, Natasha and Kara, were by her side as she fought complications from an ocean swimming accident.
A Graveside Service will be held for Marlyss's family and friends on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM in Lloydminster City Cemetery, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. The service will be followed by a luncheon at Grace United Church, Lloydminster, Alberta at 3:00 PM.
Marlyss was born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan on April 23, 1967, to Robert Gavin Long and Phyllis Joyce Long (nee Murray). She and her brother Murray Long grew up together on a family farm in the Furness District south of Lloydminster. When she was seven years old, Marlyss’s mother died suddenly which left a hole in her heart for the rest of her life. With her father remarrying, she was fortunate to be raised by her new mother, Marie, and have two new stepsisters and a stepbrother.
Marlyss excelled at school and graduated from the Lloydminster Comprehensive High school with academic honours. She worked her way through Brownies, Girl Guides and Pathfinders earning one of guiding’s top honours, her Canada Cord. Growing up on the farm she spent hours playing with her cousins and friends in elaborate games of hide and seek that spanned two farm yards and the fields in between, riding horses, bikes and snowmobiles, as well as, helping with chores including the annual family gathering to dig the potatoes. She loved travelling to Cranbrook for family ski trips or to the lake to visit more cousins. After graduation, she caught the travel bug and toured Europe including a visit with her Aunt Linda, Uncle Don and family in England.
Marlyss graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a BSc Chemistry in 1989. During the summers, she was a valued worker at the Lloydminster Credit Union. After her graduation, Marlyss was employed with SaskPower in Estevan, Saskatchewan in the 1990s. She and her then husband, Trevor Hrycay, moved to Fort McMurray in 1999, where she began her career with Suncor in environmental management and regulatory affairs. In 2004, Marlyss’s job took her to Suncor’s head office in Calgary and she and her family established their home in Okotoks, Alberta. She rose to the position of Senior Environmental Advisor, Air and Water and was a valued and respected member of the Suncor team.
Marlyss had an analytical mind and a quick wit. She liked facts, words and tackling a problem to find a solution. She was known for her love of gadgets and often had the latest tool, gizmo or appliance to make life easier.
Throughout her life, Marlyss also loved animals. As a girl, she was enthralled with horses. As a teenager, she was proud to have her horse, Jay Jay. And, over the past few years she enjoyed riding and showing her horse Rosie. Marlyss and her daughters also shared a great love for cats and could never say no to taking in strays.
Marlyss’s heart and soul were dedicated to her two daughters, Natasha, born in 2002, and Kara, born in 2004. With the loss of her own mother at a young age, Marlyss worried about becoming a mother but, once she had daughters of her own, those fears vanished, and she became a passionate mother. Over the past few years, she met the challenge of becoming a single mother and did everything she possibly could for Kara and Natasha.
They took riding lessons, entered cat shows and recently Marlyss had taken the girls to hear Michelle Obama speak. She encouraged Kara’s creativity, her love of cooking, gaming and interest in fish. Marlyss cheered on Natasha’s interest in modeling and how well she was doing at her new school. Many times we heard her say “All I want is to see my girls happy.” Her love for her daughters was powerful and it is what pushed and motivated her every day.
Marlyss was a caring, compassionate and generous friend who always gave the most thoughtful gifts. She was selfless, always putting others before herself. She would listen for hours if you needed her to, sympathize with your sadness, and would never say no if you asked her for a favour. She was the type of friend who had the conviction to always be there to lift you up and hold you tight. She didn’t have the easiest life, but she had the best attitude towards it and the gift of humour to find the perfect joke to make you laugh. Her beautiful smile was contagious, and her hugs were the best. To those she loved she ended each conversation with the words “I love you all over”.
Marlyss’ “Happy Place” was Hawaii. She and her family enjoyed many trips where they relaxed and played. She was very much looking forward to going with her daughters to Maui once again this winter. They spent 10 wonderful days together in warmth, happiness and joy before her accident. On her final day, Marlyss saw whales and snorkeled alongside a huge sea turtle. Despite the sudden, tragic, and incomprehensible nature of her death, Marlyss was happy at her end. May her memory be eternal and live on through all of us.
Along with her daughters, Marlyss leaves to mourn her brother Murray (Donna) and their children Evan and Valya. She was predeceased by her mother and father Joyce and Robert Long. She will also be sadly missed by her step family as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers.
A Celebration of Marlyss’ life was held on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Okotoks United Church, 43 Riverside Drive, Okotoks, Alberta. Interment and a gathering of friends and family will take place in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan at a later date.
Arrangements are entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Home. www.snodgrassfuneralhomes.com
Donations in memory of Marlyss may be made to your local SPCA.
Marlyss’s family would like to deeply thank all those in Maui and at Maui Memorial Hospital who took care of her and her daughters. We also thank everyone who has provided us with support and comfort in different ways and through messages of condolence and acts of kindness and love.