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Marilyn Johnson Rolapp Brinton passed away peacefully on Friday, January 13, 2023, at age 81. Born in Redlands, CA to Ljubica (Ruby) Vukovich Johnson and Layle George Johnson, she was the older of two children. She and her brother, Barry Johnson, were raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she graduated in 1959 from Las Vegas High School. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in History and Education in 1963 by Brigham Young University, where she was Homecoming Queen her senior year. At BYU she met Ralph Richards Rolapp, known as Rich. She and Rich were married in 1963 in the Los Angeles Temple and lived in Washington D.C. for 25 years where they raised four children, Todd, Juliane, Brian and Ashley. After Rich’s passing, she married Robert L. Brinton in 1994. She and Bob moved to Salt Lake City ten years after in 2004, enjoying a 28 year loving companionship in every way.
Marilyn had a brilliant mind and whatever she took on she did it well. She worked for years as a substitute teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, and for eight years at Christ Episcopal School in Rockville, Maryland. Her volunteer work often revolved around her children and included serving many years as PTA president and even as the mascot at her son’s senior year homecoming football game. She was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served admirably everywhere she lived in just about every available capacity. She especially loved her last calling as a primary teacher in the Federal Heights Ward.
She loved many things: baking bread, gardenias, hamburgers, chocolate of all kinds, plays of every kind, long walks, music from the 50’s and 60’s, the symphony, Masterpiece Theatre, and coconut cream pie. She was always learning new things. She especially loved to read and write. She read everything from classic literature to murder mysteries and typically had two or three books going simultaneously. She wrote that reading didn’t just make her smarter, it made her and helped her understand others and develop empathy. In Salt Lake City, she took a writing class with Emma Lou Thayne at the University of Utah, inspiring her to form a writing group (the “Memory Keepers”) which has been together for over 10 years now. During those years, she wrote prolifically, mostly short stories and always about her experiences in life.
Marilyn’s greatest passion was people, especially family and friends. People were always drawn to her and her elegance, smile, infectious laugh and inviting manner. She had the gift of friendship. She had friends of all ages and from all walks of life and could maintain a friendship even after it lost the benefit of proximity. She would honor her friends private concerns, share their frustrations, help carry their burdens, listen to their ponderings, and find as much joy as they did in their celebrations. To her, friendship was the security of knowing you could say anything and be understood and loved.
As a mother, wife, grandmother, sister, and daughter, she was a giant. She poured her time, energy and emotions into loving her husband, children and grandchildren, whether serving them or just enjoying their company and lives. She spent countless summers before cell phones driving with all her children across the country, stopping to see her family along the way, and seeing some amazing and not-so amazing things. She cared attentively and generously for years for her parents as their health failed. Her grandchildren loved visiting her (especially on their own without their parents) and often brought friends. Her drive to learn new things came in part by a motivation to be close to her grandchildren. She believed that while they couldn’t know what old age felt like, she could always remember what it was like to be young. Her steadfastness gave her loved ones confidence and security. As a member of her family, you could trust your whole self to her, knowing she would gently and generously sift away the rough parts and see the best of you.
She is survived by her husband, Robert L. Brinton; her four children, Todd Johnson Rolapp (Heather), Juliane Rolapp Huguely (Geoff), Brian Johnson Rolapp (Cindy), and Ashley Rolapp Garff (Brian); Bob’s three children, Chris Brinton (Kinde), Matt Brinton (Wendy) and David Brinton (Leisa); and her brother Barry Johnson (Joyce). She is also survived by her 13 grandchildren and Bob’s 10 grandchildren who range in age from 2 to 28 years and knew her as “Baba” – the Serbian word for grandmother.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm at the Federal Heights Ward, located at 1300 E Fairfax, SLC, UT 84103. A viewing will be held at the Federal Heights Ward on Friday, January 20, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm and on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm prior to the funeral services. Interment will immediately follow the Saturday funeral service at Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery at 2350 East 1300 South SLC, UT 84108. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Other Side Academy (theothersideacademy.com).
Recording of the funeral service can be found by clicking the "Watch Services" button above.
Our hearts are aching and our eyes are tearing for the early departure of one who was always the epitome of unequaled grace, beauty and brilliance. A friendship of eighty years has now segued into an eternal relationship, but she will be so greatly missed in the interval. We will anxiously await our eternal reunion. Our love and condolences to Bob, her beautiful children and their families. "She walks in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meets in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies." Lord Byron
God bless each of you to carry on her bright light of love, compassion and joy.
To you Bob, dear friend.
I am so grateful that you had so many years with such a beautiful and caring, amazing woman.
You have been a special friend to me for many, many years. You introduced me to Marilyn and I have been greatly blessed by her humor, her sweetness and beauty.
I am teary today for our loss. Love to you Bob.
Oh how we all loved Marilyn!! What a privilege to have known her here in the Potomac Ward and to see the beautiful family that she raised with such excellence. She had such a wonderful personality where everyone wanted to be her friend. She was a great example and will be greatly missed!!
My Dad, Pete, was the only male member of Marilyn's writing group, Memory Keepers. Marilyn's kindness to have him as part of the group was a godsend for Dad in his late eighties. He looked forward to every meeting in the Brinton home and was so determined to do his "homework" each month. The book of stories we have from that association is a treasure for our family. Marilyn was such a positive example to all around her. We were blessed by her kindness to our Dad.
Sister Rolapp, as I always thought of her, was a mentor and friend to me and so many of the young women that came through the Potomac Ward. She wasn't someone I saw often, but someone I have always thought of as I have served youth in and outside our church. Her unconditional love, friendship, laughter and beauty were just a few of things I appreciated about her and will always remember. Her genuine interest in me and being able to see what others might not have been able to see when I was a teen, made me feel loved and accepted as I was. Whenever I would get to see her, I always felt the same love and interest in me, and hoped she felt my love and admiration for her.
Marilyn, thank you for the impact you've had on my life. I will always try to emulate the love and trust you showed me, as I serve the youth within my influence. Thank you for also showing me what best friends looked like as adult women. I always admired the friendship you had with Sue Huguely and with many other great women in our ward, one of which was my mother. I loved watching your friendships and how time and geography didn't break those bands of sisterhood. You helped me to see that you can still have best girlfriends and make them a priority in your life, even as an adult.
Please know, you will be deeply missed in this life, but no doubt are enjoying a sweet reunion with your loved ones on the other side. Much love and gratitude for your life well lived.
Our hearts ache with yours at the passing of your sweet Marilyn, Mom and Baba. What a light she shed everywhere she went! Her goodness, strength, friendship and fun reached so far and wide. We have been blessed to be within that reach. Our prayers are with all of you. The truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ are real and present. How thankful we are to know what we know. Bless you all.
Brent & Meg
Such a beautiful, talented lady with a wonderful sense of humor. It was an honor to know her. Our sympathies to her family.
Todd, Juliane, Brian and Ashley:
It's been 45 years since I stayed in your home in Gaithersburg where your mother graciously hosted me for a month as I located to a new job there in the D.C. area!! But I remember her with fondness to this day. She was one in a million. Please accept my condolences on her passing. I hope you will each be sustained by a faith she cherished.
Susan R. Wayment
Daughter of LaVar Rockwood
The world has lost one of the most lovely women I have ever had the privilege to meet. Marilyn was a dear sweet lady, with such love and acceptance that radiated from her. Although our paths did not cross very often, she had a wisdom and spirit that I always admired. Deepest condolences to her family and loved ones!
Marilyn was a great daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to all. She embodied traits and qualities of the very best of God's children. Marilyn was intelligent, beautiful, kind, compassionate, warm, fun and friendly. I will cherish the times she spent at her parents, Ruby and Layle's home on 5th Place, in Las Vegas, where I got to know her, not just as a cousin, but a loving mother to her young family. She will be missed greatly by her family and the many who were fortunate to know her. With Love, Scott Johnson
So sorry for your loss. I enjoyed my association with Marilyn when I worked at Eagle Gate Apartments. She was always kind and generous to me. She will be remembered fondly.
We are thinking of the remarkable Rolapp family during this tender time. Grateful for the amazing example Marilyn was to so many people. We love you and cherish our friendship and shared testimony in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm feeling much sadness for all of you at the loss of this special mother, wife, and grandmother. Sending wishes that you will be comforted, feel peace, and the Savior's love for you all. May you feel many blessings in the coming days, months and years, Judy
I am sad and shocked at the loss of wonderful Marilyn, your wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and great and dear friend. Earth has lost such a special force and light! I send my love, sympathy, and best wishes to each of you at this difficult time.
So many of us are better people because we grew up around the Rolapps, with Sister Rolapp leading with infectious kindness, compassion and empathy. A genuine hug from her cures all — even painfully early seminary classes. My last one was at the Pratt’s farm, on a cold day, during Alex and Niki’s wedding — many moons ago. I think the bagpiper’s reed froze.
In our living room is a drum table, topped with family photos. We stole that idea from the Rolapp’s entry way. Love and warmest hugs from DC to Brian, Julianne, Todd, Ashley and the rest of the family.
Marilyn was such an amazing person and touched the lives of everyone she met, including me. She had such love and passion for life, family, friends, and people in general. My life was made better from having her be a part of it. I have so many fond memories of spending time at her home with the family. Love you all and want you to know I am thinking of you and sending love and prayers. Thank you Marilyn for touching my life in such a positive way. ❤️
When Becky and I moved to Maryland in 1986, Marilyn was one of the first people we met. We had known her brother, Barry, from Illinois, and so we got in touch during a week-long house-hunting visit. Good thing too, because our corporate-recommended real estate agent turned out to be less than hoped for, and it was Marilyn to the rescue. She spent several hours driving us around Montgomery County, giving us much-needed advice about neighborhoods and commute times and church congregations. It was Marilyn who ultimately found and showed us the house that we ended up purchasing, and 37 years later we are still here. Marilyn was a dear friend. We are indebted to her, not only for being our surrogate real estate agent four decades ago, but for countless other acts of kindness, support, love and friendship over many years. We are so sad to lose Marylyn. We extend our sincere condolences to her husband, Bob, her children and step-children and grandchildren. We take consolation in our knowledge that life is eternal, and that we will see Marilyn again. With love, Rob and Becky Talbert
Dear Brinton Family (especially dear Bob),
My heart goes out to you at this tender time. What a shock to have an angel separated from us for a time! Marilyn was and is a dear, sweet angel. I will always remember her kindness and cherish her friendship. She has touched so many lives, mine included. I love her and I love you!
With prayers and heartfelt condolences,
We are so very sorry to hear about Marilyn’s passing. We will keep you, Bob, and the extended family in our prayers.
An angel has left us. So many felt “she was my friend” only to realize she was a friend to everyone! From the early days in the 6th ward to all the memories as a Las Vegas Wildcat she was the example of enthusiasm, beauty, purity and love. We were blessed to be touched by her!
Marilyn and I were friends for over 60 years. She was my best friend in high school. We then went to BYU and she was my roommate for 2 years. She was beautiful inside and out. She was a wonderful woman and will be missed. I love you my dear friend.