Marie was born on Aug. 27, 1931, in Waverly, the daughter of Kurt and Anna (Bast) Meyer, and was baptized on Sept. 30, 1931, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Denver, Iowa. She attended school in Waverly and graduated from the Waverly High School in 1949. Marie then attended nursing school at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo, receiving her RN nursing degree in 1952. She then worked at Allen Hospital for the next year. On Oct. 18, 1953, she was united in marriage to Marvin J. Zelle at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waverly. The couple made their home in Urbana, Ill., where Marvin was stationed with the U.S. Air Force, and Marie worked as a nurse for the Carle Memorial Hospital. In 1955, they moved to Rantoul, Ill., and in 1956 Marvin was discharged and they returned to Waverly where they took over the operation of the Zelle family farm, farming the land and running the dairy operation. In 1968, Marie went to work for the Waverly Hospital until 1973, and in 1975 she became the first Bremer County Public Health Nurse, a position she held until 1985. Because of her deteriorating heart condition she was forced to slow down and retire. Marvin died on Jan. 8, 1996, and a few years later she moved off the farm and her son and daughter-in-law, Ronald & Mary Beth, took over the farming operation.
She was a long time, faithful member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waverly, where she was deeply involved in many groups and volunteer activities, serving the mission of the church. She was also a member of the Allen Hospital Alumni Association, where she served on the board for many years. In 1991, Marie began the ICD Support Group for area residents with defibrillators.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Marvin; one son in infancy, Jeffrey Scott Zelle; and one sister and brother-in-law, Laura and Harold Gray of Des Moines.
Marie is survived by her three sons, David Zelle of Cherokee, Ronald and Mary Beth Zelle and their children, Debra and Ben of Waverly, John Zelle and Elizabeth Bingham and their children Emily and Paul of Shell Rock; one sister, Margaret & Lynn Poppen of Charles City; four brothers, Herbert and Claudette Meyer of Waverly, Herold and Arlene Meyer of Onawa, Carl and Marvelyn Meyer of Nashua, John and Barbara Meyer of Fairfield.