*Whenever possible, the obituaries of Kiltie Alumni will be posted. It is important to remember those who marched before us.*
Marilyn Cecelia (Stockman) McDowell
October 10, 1931 – February 6, 2014
Marilyn Cecelia Stockman McDowell passed away on February 6, 2014, at the age of 82. She was a resident at Reflection Living in Wichita KS at the time of her death. She fought a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s for years only to succumb to cancer in the end.
Marilyn was born October 10, 1931, at Schofield Barracks, an U.S. Army Post, Territory of Hawaii. She was the third daughter of M.Sgt. William Andrew “Stocky” Stockman and Eileen Marie Gibney Stockman, affectionately known as Pop-pops and Grandmere to their grandchildren. Marilyn wished to continue the usage of Grandmere, French for grandmother. However, Marilyn’s grandkids shortened her moniker to first to Memere and then to Meme.
From Hawaii, M.Sgt. Stockman was transferred to Ft. Logan CO where Marilyn’s youngest sister Nancy was born. Stocky was transferred to Fort Devens Army Air Field in Ayer/Shirley MA then back again to Ft. Logan. His next duty station was Vancouver Barracks, Vancouver WA. In May of 1941, M.Sgt. Stockman was transferred to Ft. Leonard Wood MO. His family accompanied him on each of his moves. Because there were no family quarters on Ft. Leonard Wood the Stockman, family members moved to Springfield MO. While at Ft. Leonard Wood M.Sgt. Stockman was “appointed by direction of the President of the USA to the grade of Captain”. From Ft. Leonard Wood Captain Stockman went to England with the Hq 332nd Engineer Regiment where he was stationed with supplied equipment to the US troops engaged in the war with Germany. At his return stateside, he retired from the army with the rank of Major. The Stockman family remained residents of Springfield at his retirement.
Marilyn attended and graduated from Springfield Senior High School (now Central High) in 1949. Annual class reunions allowed Marilyn the opportunity to rekindle lifelong friendships with other 49’ers Jean Routh Graham, Dorann Lewis Thoreen, Helen Kay Peterson Catt, Class President James Love, Class Historian Betty Brittain Harris and the events coordinator Betty Proctor Baker. Though they were not in the same graduating class, Rayma Burger and college beau Paul Mentis coordinated travels to coincide with her class reunions.
Though Marilyn maintained a full academic schedule in high school, she found time to join the Kilties, an all-girl parade corps known for their Scottish Tartan uniforms. Marilyn and seven other former Kilties regularly returned to see current corps of Kilties to perform at 49’ers class reunions.
After graduating from high school, Marilyn enrolled at Southwest Missouri State College. The school eventually changed its name to Missouri State. Marilyn is listed in the 1952-53 Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. She served in the Athletic Department under Aldo Sebben, at a time when SMS won consecutive NAIA National Championships in 1952 and 1953. At the conclusion of one of the finals played the Municipal Auditorium in KC, the team finished with only four players on the floor. The excitement of victory sealed her lifelong passion for sports.
Alpha Delta Pi, the oldest national sorority in the world, was installed at SMS in 1949. ADPi purchased a sorority house at 700 S. National Ave. Marilyn served as the Gamma MU’s chapter Treasurer and won the Treble Club’s Song Fest with her rendition of, “I Love Little Willie”. She reigned at the 1953 Queen of Diamonds. ADPi is known for the use of the diamond pin. After graduating she served as the Financial Advisor to the ADPi chapter at the University of Kansas and also routinely attended K-State sporting events with sorority sisters Jan Waide and Kathleen Ruediger.
Marilyn graduated with honors on May 23, 1953, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History and a minor in French. She was an Alpha Mu Gamma national honorary foreign language society member. Her French lessons stuck with her. As recent as two weeks ago while the nursing staff at Reflection Living was playing Trivial Pursuit, no one could the answer to the questions of how to say, “Goodbye” in French. From across the room Marilyn provided the answer much to the amazement of everyone present.
Upon graduating from SMS, Marilyn moved to Grand Lake CO to spend time with her Aunt Cecelia Gibney Lee at the Mountain West Bell Telephone Company. During this time, she met the man that she would marry. While on leave from the US Navy, Robert Ray McDowell paid a visit his sister Colleen in Colorado. Bob asked Colleen to arrange a date with her co-worker at Mountain Bell and the rest is history.
Marilyn followed Bob to the Naval Base San Diego during the Korean War. Her first-born child, Robert Ray “Robb” was born in San Diego. After Bob’s stint in the Navy concluded, the family relocated to Wichita where sons Rick and Ron were born. The fourth “R” (Rebecca nicknamed Becky) arrived in 1959 when the family moved to Hutchinson KS. Her large Catholic family often took joint summer vacations to Table Rock Lake with another Holy Cross family, that of Bob and Carol Moritz.
One favorite memory is a shopping trip to Iola Molded Plastic for placing an order for a custom-made IMP tri-hull for our water skiing vacations. Local Realtors, co-workers and family friends, Andy Bervert and Lou Ann Thoms ordered new boats at the same time.
As Robb, Rick, Ron and Becky graduated from Topeka West High School; Marilyn joined the labor force in Topeka KS. She started with the Kansas Medical Credit Union, moved on the Family and Children’s Services, Security Benefit Life and retired from Meyers and Stauffer CPA. Her time was normally spent her evenings and weekends managing and repairing her single-family residential rental properties.
Marilyn supported her children’s endeavors whole-heartedly. She was especially involved with her daughter’s passion for horseracing. Together they purchased a mare. Becky would train horses in return for stud fees in hopes of breeding a champion. Shortly after winning the Florida Futurity, Becky suffered a near paralyzing accident as a jockey. The accident convinced her to move on to training horses in Iowa. It is common to see her arm in a sling or a cast.
Marilyn enjoyed the annual treks to the Big 8 basketball tournaments in Kansas City’s Kemper Arena with Robb, Rick, Diana and close family friends LaMonta Woerner and Ralph Anderson. The tradition began in the mid-70’s and continued uninterrupted until the Big 8 conference merged with four Texas schools to form the Big 12. It was always a source of entertainment to see whom was the slowest eater between games, Mom or her friend (now deceased) LaMonta.
The wife of Marilyn’s older brother, Erma Wilcox Stockman, formed a sisterhood of Stockman relatives. The association of 16 women is often referred to as the Ya Ya’s. Even at age 90, Erma, the matriarch of the sisterhood, continues to plan annual excursions for the group. Her newest recruit to the sisterhood is her great granddaughter 3-year old Caroline DiEleuterio, daughter of Rachel Stockman DiEleuteria and her husband John of Felton DE. Erma shares time with her daughters Barbara June Duffin in Delaware and Beverly (with husband Richard Crawford) in Arlington TX.
Marilyn excelled at maintaining an exquisite household and excelled in the kitchen. Her relatives would make fun of her for ironing bed sheets and taking the time to properly fold a fitted sheet. Her Stolen Apple Pie recipe captured the Blue Ribbon in one baking contest. Marilyn mowed her lawn by hand into her 60’s. She spruced up the yard by lining the perimeter of her home with Jackson and Perkins Tropicana roses.
Marilyn supported the Catholic Church teaching Catechism at Most Pure Heart in Church. Her years as a volunteer CCD teacher earned her the Pope St. Pius X award for meritorious service. She also joined the Civic Newcomers Club to welcome new residents to City of Topeka. Her hobbies included bowling at the now razed Southwest Bowl with her doubles partner Norma “Nono” Power and Championship Bridge with Joyce Gartner in the St. Francis Bridge Club.
Marilyn’s sister Nancy Crooks continues to maintain a residence in Springfield MO with all her children, grandchildren and great grandson. Nancy’s four children are Lori Highfill (married to Fred Highfill), Daniel Crooks, Jeanne Lindeman and Chris Crooks. Nancy’s four grandchildren are Michael Highfill (married to Kristin), Michelle Highfill, Drew Lindeman and Ross Lindeman. Nancy’s great-grandchild is Caleb Highfill (son of Michael and Kristin Highfill).
Her parents, her sisters Eileen (at birth) and Peggy White, her brother USAF Col. William A. Stockman and brothers-in law Orville Cook, Henry Crooks, Joe White, and nephew Travis Duffin preceded Marilyn in death.
In addition to her three sons and a daughter, Marilyn was also blessed with their families. Kay Nusser McDowell is married to Robb, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, and they have two children, Robert Ray McDowell III and Kristi Cavitte. Kristi is married to Jerry Cavitte and they have two children Miles and Maci. Kay, Robbie Kristi and Jerry work for public school systems in Topeka.
Diana Pfeifer McDowell is married to Rick, a Financial Analyst with Direct Energy in Tulsa OK. Marilyn loved the joint trips with Diana and past classmate Dorran Thoreen to attend the annual Thrifty Car Rental Worldwide Conventions with Rick. Diana and Rick have a daughter, Jessica, who is married to Jeremy Sonnett. They have three children; Jonathan, Anna and Clare. Jessica’s family lives in New Castle, PA.
Joann Blecha McDowell, married to Ron, an agent for Private Family Banking Partners, assisted Ron in caretaker duties the two years before Marilyn required full time assistance. They reside in Wichita, KS with their son Andrew.
Becky McDowell moved home to care for her mother upon her retirement from Meyers and Stauffer until Marilyn relocated to Wichita. Becky has a son, Chance who now lives in Iowa with Chance’s father Mike Wessels.
Visitation at Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home extends from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Pastor Ray Adams from Ron and Joann’s First Missionary Church in Newton KS will speak at the visitation prior to parish rosary at 7:30 PM. Marilyn’s cremains will be present at the visitation. The Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Topeka KS. Father Mitchell Zimmerman will be offering the Mass.
Inurnment of Marilyn’s cremains will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Topeka KS. A reception in the Parish Hall at Christ the King Catholic Church will conclude the celebration.
Donations in the memory of Marilyn C. Stockman may be made to:
Kiltie Drum & Bugle Corps
c/o Central High School
Attn: Jessica Freeman
423 E. Central Street
Springfield MO, 65802
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
322 Eighth Avenue, 7th floor
New York, NY 10001
Amedisys Hospice of Wichita
250 W Douglas #101
Wichita KS 67202.
Published online at: http://www.funeralplan2.com/kevinbrennanfamily/obit?id=293115