Marilyn Gronewald was born in 1922, a third generation resident of The Dalles, Oregon. Her father, Alvin Gronewald, drowned in 1929 while attempting to rescue her drowning brother from the Deschutes River. Her mother resumed teaching to support them. Marilyn graduated The Dalles High School in 1940 and attended the University of Oregon until 1943. She worked in Portland until 1947 when she returned to The Dalles to marry Walter Ericksen, who had grown up a block from her childhood home.

Walter and Marilyn raised cherries in The Dalles. They helped spearhead the local battle against air pollution in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s Marilyn did oral interviews with many early pioneers including Ernest Kuck. After his death in 1992 she interviewed dozens of Ernie’s friends and associates, hoping to someday write his biography. In her nineties, Marilyn put ink to her dreams and completed¬†Remembering Ernie Kuck.