Marilyn Roye Cole Akre

November 16, 1930 ~ May 30, 2021 (age 90)


Marilyn Roye Cole Akre, 90, passed away on May 30, 2021 in Sun City West, Arizona. Known to many as Lynn, she will be remembered for her quick wit and her love for friends and family.

Born as the only child of Olga Elizabeth Schroeder Cole and Royal Herman Cole on November 16, 1930, she spent most of her life in Fargo, North Dakota, where she cultivated lifelong friendships. As a child, she loved hunting and watching sports with her dad.

After graduating from Fargo Central High School in 1948 she attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, completing a bachelor’s degree in Speech & Communications. Lynn was active in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, became the Program Director of the Strictly Collegiate radio program, and was a member of Alpha Epsilon Rho, a scholastic honor society recognizing achievement among students in the field of radio and broadcasting. She loved the theater and loved to sing. She would tell a story about two brushes with fame: singing for Mel Tormé and performing a duet with Tony Bennett.  

Lynn met her future husband, Jack Akre, while working on a theater production in Fargo, where they married and raised their two children. Later, she worked part-time as a bookkeeper and tax preparer, volunteered with the Junior League of Fargo-Moorhead, and was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She spent every summer of her married life entertaining and enjoying friends at their beloved Minnesota lake home, Akrehaven, on Big Floyd Lake.  

In 1978, Lynn become an official Arizona “snowbird,” which allowed her to participate year-round in her passion for golf. She played the game well, delighted in being with her golf lady friends, and volunteered for numerous LPGA tournaments over the years.

When she wasn’t playing golf or watching sports, she was absorbed in a good book or playing bridge or other card games with friends and neighbors. She was never more animated then at Christmastime, when she would display her vast collection of Swedish Tomte (wooden folklore creatures respected for protecting the welfare of a farmstead). Tomte are known for their love of tradition and mischievousness, which also mirror aspects of Lynn’s personality.

Lynn leaves behind her beloved dog Molly 2; daughter Jane Akre Smith and son-in-law Lawrence Wesley Smith of Seattle, WA; son Steven Cole Akre of South Lake Tahoe, CA; grandsons Luke Andrew Smith of Los Angeles, CA and Jack Doyle Smith of Brooklyn, NY; granddaughter Orianna Rose Akre, and great-granddaughter Kaia Rose Hurd of Rancho Cordova, CA. She was preceded in death by her husband, John (Jack) William Akre, her parents, and her beloved dogs Freda, Buffy, Katie and Molly 1.

Lynn’s family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the staff of Everest Hospice for their compassionate care and guidance over the past two years.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Camino del Sol Funeral Chapel in Sun City West, AZ. A memorial page has been established to share memories of her life at  In lieu of flowers, Lynn asks you to consider adopting a rescue dog or making a donation to an animal shelter or rescue organization like PAWS or HALO to honor Lynn’s love for dogs.

Lynn will be laid to rest next to her parents at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo. No celebration of life is planned at this time. For now, raise a toast to Lynn tonight. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day… unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear.

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