Marilyn G Apple

January 3, 1947 ~ June 4, 2020 (age 73)


Marilyn G. Apple

Ms. Apple was cremated and her family will hold a service at a later date.  

Marilyn Gayle Apple (Kotati) born January 3rd, 1947, she was recalled to heaven on June 4th, 2020 at the young age of 73.  She was the second child and only daughter born to John Walter Apple and Alyce Lee Apple (Smoot) in Detroit, Michigan.  Her early years were filled with music. She played piano and later the cello.  She learned an appreciation for exploration through her time with the Girl Scouts of America where she grew fond of camping, the great outdoors and building relationships. After graduating from Henry Ford High School in Detroit, her scouting experience served as the foundation for later studies. She attended Michigan State University (MSU) where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology before pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work.

                In 1967 she met Besa L. Kotati a foreign student from Zaire now (Democratic Republic of Congo – Kinshasa).  They married in September 1970, and after completing Graduate school, they moved to New York to pursue their careers in the Big Apple.  While living in New York they had a son Yombwe. Shortly thereafter, Besa’s work would take them to Geneva, Switzerland. They returned to the United States in 1978, settling in Lincoln, Nebraska until relocated to Northern Virginia in 1980. Marilyn, who was always drawn to helping people, especially foreign students, went to work with Youth for Understanding (YFU) where she worked and cultivated lifelong friendships. From there she transitioned to a small Business Graduate School South Eastern University (SEU), where once again she immersed herself in the development of the Foreign Student Advisement department under the guidance of her dear friend Wendy Burgess.  During her time at SEU, she impacted countless lives, met numerous friends and always fostered a true sense of community wherever she went. The next five years were spent in France, Tunisia and Algeria where Marilyn served as a cultural observer, Diplomat’s spouse, Community Organizer, Social Connector, Foreign Student Advisor and teacher.  While living abroad she was known for throwing MLK Jr. day dinners, Valentine’s day parties, along with countless gatherings of various diplomatic mission friends. In 1989, the family returned to Northern Virginia so their son could attend high school in the United States.  She returned to the classroom in the role of school counselor with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).  In this role she continued to touch lives in her signature indelible way.  Marilyn never met a stranger, just a previously unencountered friend.   Marilyn took on the care of her beloved Aunt Dorothy (Dot) Smoot.  Marilyn cared for her until she passed away in 2010. She continued to work with FCPS at several different schools and serving in several different counseling roles. In 2012 she retired from FCPS after 21 years of service. She worked at American University as a Foreign student advisor for a short period of time during the 90’s. 

Marilyn loved music, dancing, singing, good food and stimulating conversation.  Once retired she began spending more time with friends by taking frequent walks, visiting churches, celebrating holidays, interacting with and meeting new friends.

Predeceased by her mother Alyce Apple (1999), her father John Apple (2006), her aunt Dorothy “Dot” Smoot (2010), and childhood best friend Gwendolyn Jones (2016). Marilyn’s earthly light went out on the morning of June 4th, 2020.  She leaves behind her son Yombwe Kotati, daughter-in-law Tahirah, grandchildren Julian, Benjamin and Zahra, brothers Darwyn Apple and Dr. Bryan Apple, sister-in-law Glenda, ex-husband Besa Kotati, cousins, friends, co-workers, countless friends and former students to mourn her loss.  While we will miss her presence dearly, her sprit continues to radiate within all whom she touched.  Her passing has us feeling “All kinds of ways” in the immortal words of her mother Alyce Apple.  She would want us to celebrate the life she lived.  Making the most of every moment.  Embracing the joy in everything we do. 

In lieu of flowers we would ask donations be made in memory of Marilyn G. Apple to the Alzheimer’s Association (  Information regarding a memorial for Marilyn G. Apple will be made available.   

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