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Marlene and Vern

Marlene and Vern

In 1955 when Marlene Rupp and Vern Diedrick met at Wayne State University in Detroit in a speech class, they never could have imagined the future in store for them. Marlene was a freshman political science major on a forensic scholarship and Vern was sophomore business major with a music scholarship. They met, were assigned to introduce each other to the speech class and the rest is history. As a side note they also shared a United States Constitution class that year.

Marlene’s parents had moved from Midland, Michigan, to Ann Arbor during her freshman year, so she intended to transfer to the University of Michigan for her sophomore year. By May they were engaged and smitten with the love bug. So plans changed. Instead of Marlene enrolling at the University—Vern enrolled, they decided to marry, and Marlene kept her summer job at the Ann Arbor Bank.

When Vern graduated from Michigan’s Business School in 1959, they had two children, (Bill and Shawn) and had already moved three of the 29 moves they would make during the next 58 years of marriage, but who was counting!

Vern was hired by Cadillac Motor Car Division in Detroit and rose meteorically through the training program to becoming Cadillac’s youngest General Supervisor. Meantime, two more children were added to the family (Steve and Larry).

They were now a family of six when Vern was asked to transfer to General Motors Overseas Operations in New York City. Life became a whirlwind sequence of opportunities; taking them from New York, to Wellington New Zealand, to Oslo Norway—where he became General Motor’s youngest Vice President, to Copenhagen Denmark, to Seoul Korea, to Mexico City Mexico, and back to New York where other opportunities incorporating more moves were presented to the Diedrick family.

Both Marlene and Vern worked very hard during all these years. Vern had the consistency of his work, while Marlene handled the logistics of each move. It was a team effort that neither of them were aware of—they just did it.

Marlene went back to school when she was 51 and earned a degree of Associate of Technology in Interior Design from Harrington Institute of Design in Chicago; upon graduation she formed Marlene Diedrick Design and worked on many interesting projects.

They are very proud of their four children; all of whom are successful entrepreneurs. Bill and Larry own D&D Manufacturing (an innovator in precision stampings for the automotive, electronics, appliance, computer, and telecommunications industries). Steve is owner and CEO of Redmond Research (an international recruiting power source fueling organizations with the market research and leadership talent that drives competitive advantage in today’s global economy). Their only daughter, Shawn, is an independent agent representing Aflac and has been recognized and rewarded for outstanding leadership and accomplishment.

They are equally proud to be the grandparents of 11 and the great grandparents of 8.

The partnership that began in 1955 in the speech class has been reinforced through years of experiences that neither Marlene nor Vern could have envisioned. They write from those experiences along with many other factors that have molded their political and social ideology.