Marilyn (Wilson) Gibson, 94, of Stillwater, Oklahoma passed from this life on May 23rd.
Funeral service will be June 9th at 10am at the First Christian Church in Stillwater, OK followed by graveside services at 3pm in Atlanta, KS.
Marilyn was born October 8, 1923 to Ralph and Pearl (Hensley) Wilson in Atlanta, KS. She attended school in Atlanta where she first was introduced to the piano and that she had “perfect pitch”. She played in piano recitals and several musicals. She also was proficient on the sousaphone and cello. She was in 4-H, a cheerleader, and the valedictorian of her 1940 high school class.
Marilyn attended Emporia State Teachers College where she earned a BS degree in music in 1944. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota music society, the Winnetaskas, and Kappa Delta Pi honorary education society. She studied voice, piano, organ, violin, and minored in education. Marilyn performed viola in the symphonic orchestra, sang in symphonic chorus and was the major accompanist of many groups, soloists, graduations and Baccalaureates. She also composed a string trio and organ prelude performed by the orchestra. She played at a dance studio and organ at a church to earn extra money. She remembered giving war rations to her boarding house landlady so she could buy meat, sugar, and coffee because she also fed the football team. She traveled with a troupe to Fort Riley to present “Canteen Follies” and sing a song from each state for the soldiers.
Maurice, her brother, was in the army air corps and was killed in action over Italy on May 9, 1944.
June 25, 1944 she was married to her longtime boyfriend and new army officer, Harold. Not knowing where Harold would be sent by the army, Marilyn decided to teach high school in Atlanta KS so she could live at home. Harold then shipped off to war in Germany. She wrote “I was not much older than my students” she was 21. In December 1944 Harold went missing in action in the Battle of the Bulge. Marilyn received official MIA notice on January 12, 1945 but no information until May 9th stating he was a POW in Germany. Then no word until a call to “meet my train!” June 25, 1945 exactly one year after their marriage he was back home in Atlanta. They went to a club in Wichita to “celebrate”.
On leave in Minnesota they saw Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
When they moved to Winfield KS after Harold’s graduation from Kansas State they started having boys. Four of them in 9 years. She attended many school programs, was in PTA, and watched countless sporting events, was a Den Mother, and got the mumps. All the while managing grades and meals. She was an excellent camper and camp cooker for her “five boys”.
Although Marilyn put her music second to her family, she always played the piano at home and the organ at church. She also was in demand for her accompanying skills. She encouraged the boys to try an instrument and to sing.
In 1977 Marilyn earned a Master in Education degree and taught in Oklahoma high schools. She ended her teaching career instructing English at Oklahoma State University. Upon retiring, she and Harold traveled the US, Canada, and the British Isles. They enjoyed their Good Sam camping club travel trailer trips.
In 2002 she lost her beloved Harold who she missed always. She became more active in her church, playing piano for her Sunday School class (well into her late 80’s) and working the rummage sale. She volunteered over 1,000 hours at the Stillwater Medical Center coffee shop, she received and made visits with her sons and grandchildren particularly enjoying family Christmas. She was a friend to many. She made many friends at Primrose Retirement Community where Toni and her staff made her comfortable and at home.
Marilyn was preceded in death by Harold, her husband of 59 years, brother Maurice. and her parents.
She is survived by sons William (Shirley) of Los Alamos, NM; Thomas (Connie) of Tulsa, OK and grandsons James, Long Island, NY and Jeremy, Tulsa, OK.; John (Pat) of Jacksonville, FL; and Michael (Linda) of Paola, KS and grandson Matthew (Melinda) Olathe, Ks with great grandchildren Spencer and Sarah; and grandson Scott (Krystal) Paola, KS with grandchildren Tori and Keegan.
Memorials to the American Lung Association or the First Christian Church, Stillwater, Ok.
Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com .