Born in Los Angeles, California at Hoover Street Hospital on October 17th, 1944 at 1:25 a.m. Her father was a custodian for the LA Unified School District and her mother worked for the United States Postal Service. Marilyn spent her entire childhood in Los Angeles. She attended UCLA and later Pepperdine on a track and field scholarship. She graduated from Pepperdine in 1967. Marilyn competed in track and field at the 1964 Olympics, placing 4th in the 100 meter dash and 2nd in the women’s relay. After graduating university she began a career as a teacher, first as a P.E. teacher and later as a kindergarten teacher. She joined the California African-American Genealogical Society in 1988 and became recording secretary.