Marlies was born in 1920 in Menden, Germany, trained as an agriculture accountant, and was employed on a large estate in East Germany. At the end of World War 2 Marlies managed to escape the invading Russian troops who would have shot her because she had worked for the capitalists, and eventually returned home to Menden. She worked for the Occupational Troops as a house keeper, and got to know an English lady, who helped her get to England where she worked for a few years.
Marlies emigrated to New Zealand in 1950, where she found work as a Home Aid for various families, and then as a copy typist for Smith & Brown. Marlies met her husband Jack, who was a dairy farmer in Morrinsville, and they married in 1955. They subsequently retired to Mount Maunganui, where they enjoyed the coastal lifestyle. Jack passed away in 2007.