Born in Washington, Indiana, Marilyn was raised by parents who faithfully took her to church and taught her the importance of prayer. However, it was not until she was in her 20's that she understood salvation and trusted Jesus as her Savior. Marilyn wanted to be an English teacher and completed her graduate work and her post graduate work with a Master of Arts degree from Indiana State University. Desiring to get Christian training, she attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and also participated in the Christian school administrators' and teachers' summer workshops at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. During this time, Marilyn taught a Bible club in her school in southern Indiana, served in Christian education in her local church, and did a camp ministry in Kansas.

After twelve years of teaching, Marilyn met Owen, who was a substitute teacher in her public school. Soon after they were married, they moved to Warsaw, Indiana, for Owen to start attending seminary. In the years following, the Lord blessed them with three children with whom they ministered in the local church and in the community with a teaching and singing ministry. Owen and Marilyn learned about Cornerstone when one of their sons chose to come to CBI to study God's Word. The Lord placed a desire in Owen and Marilyn's hearts to serve Him at Cornerstone, and they arrived in December 2012. Marilyn teaches the English classes at CBI and assists Miss Haynie with a Christian education class.