Marian Elizabeth Eikenbary, 101, passed away at MedicaLodges in Butler, Missouri, on January 26, 2022. Marian was born on September 11, 1920 at home to Fred and Nell (Ayer) Wheatley. The third of nine siblings, she was the oldest girl. She was a tireless help to her mother and sewed her own clothes and those of her younger sisters.
Marian attended Rich Hill High School and graduated class of 1938. The love of her life, Lloyd Eldon (Pete) Eikenbary courted her on horseback, and they waited until she graduated to marry. They were married November 26, 1938, in the Methodist parsonage at Butler, Missouri, and started family life in a one room home in Rich Hill. They moved shortly afterwards out east of Rich Hill to Pete’s parent’s farm with an old stand of pecans, right on the Marais des Cygne river. Marian always had a love of swans, maybe because of her home place.
Soon, Eldon was born, then Kay, then Oran. She was a capable wife and mother, keeping her children safe and well fed while her husband worked jobs that took him, and their only car, away from the family Monday through Friday. She was strong, steady, self-reliant, frugal and hard working. Her joy was in her children, her pride was in her homemaking. She was a consummate housekeeper and it was well known you could eat dinner off her floor, her house was kept so spotless. She crocheted beautiful afghans and doilies, sewed clothes and doll clothes, and mended and patched Pete’s work clothes invisibly. She canned and pickled, gardened, raised meat chickens, and harvested pecans. They hosted a yearly pecan picnic and many family dinners. Her private time was often spent in writing thousands of notes to friends or writing in her journal. She was the family’s ‘recorder’: remembering everything, putting notations on backs of photos and under knick-knacks, and keeping genealogy records.
Marian travelled quite a lot in her life, though she never had a car or ever learned to drive. They purchased a streamlined (compact) 1960’s trailer so she could accompany him to his job sites. They lived in the towns of Lebanon, California, Bethany, Cameron, Lexington, Mexico and Lathrop (all in Missouri). Because she had near neighbors and could walk into town, she enjoyed this break from the farm. They spent time with their adult children and grandchildren at Mountain Home, Arkansas, in San Francisco, and went on a cruise to Alaska as well as taking various trips to visit relatives in far flung parts of the U.S. Her grandkids remember fondly staying with grandma in the trailer and visiting the town shops, or staying on the farm and playing in the pasture, and learning to make pickles, crochet and sew. And Marian enjoyed going to ball games, horse shows and track meets to watch her grandchildren.
Marian died peacefully after an extended stay at MedicaLodges, where she resided after Pete’s passing. She had her wits about her until the end and was sharp as a tack and not afraid to tell the nurses and caregivers what was what, in her gentle and brooking-no-argument tone of voice. Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband of 80 years, Pete (99); son Oran (40); brothers Kenneth, Jim, Warren, and Forrest; her sisters-in-law Elnora, June, and Doris; and her brother-in-law Floyd Buhr.
Left behind to cherish her memory are son and daughter-in-law Eldon and Karen Eikenbary (Basehor, KS); daughter and son-in-law Elvin and Brenda (Kay) Henley (Kansas City, MO); brothers Alan Wheatley and wife Delores, Wayne Wheatley; sisters Joanne Buhr (Adrian) and Janice and Ronald Bolser; sister-in-law Phyllis Wheatley and dear friend Mitzi Knight, all of Rich Hill, MO; grandchildren and spouses Brad and Ruthie Eikenbary (Kansas City, KS), Renata and John Mogilnicki (Rich Hill), Brian and Julie Eikenbary (Basehor, KS), Tracy and Brett Harrington (Prairie Village, KS) and Ryan Henley (Kansas City, MO). great-grandchildren Tanner, Ashley (Boos) and Dylan Eikenbary; Austin, Arlo and Madelyn Henley; Chloë and Lanam Harrington; Adelle, Corey and Lilliane Eikenbary; and nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces too numerous to name; and friends and neighbors dear to her.
Visitation is at 1pm, Saturday, January 29th at Heuser Funeral Home, Rich Hill, followed by services at 2pm. Burial to follow at Oak Hill Cemetery, Butler, MO. Contributions to the Mark Wheatley Scholarship Fund or Papinville Historical Association, please.