December 1, 2011 at 4:15pm

Memorial for Marian Eakin Woyna ’47

Marian Eakin Woyna died on Friday, November 11, 2011, at her home at Primrose Retirement Community, surrounded by her family and friends.

She is survived by daughter Elizabeth Woyna and son-in law John Peoples of Decatur and daughter Susan Woyna and son-in law Dick Miyoshi of Seattle; grandchildren Sharon Blickensderfer and her husband Chris, Geoff Peoples and his fiancee Stephanie Hodges, and Kelly Ragsdale and her husband Aaron; great-grandson Cameron Ragsdale; sisters-in-law Alice Eakin of Decatur and Margaret Eakin of Ohio; and nieces and nephews too numerous to mention, all of whom were dear to her. She was preceded in death by husband Fritz and son Fritz Woyna, parents Franzy and Forrest Eakin, and brothers and sisters Dorothy Lee, Marjorie Bremer, Marlin Eakin, and Erlin Eakin.

Marian was born at home in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 30, 1925, the youngest of five children. The family soon moved to Decatur where she grew up on Summit Street. Walking in Fairview Park with her father remained a fond memory. She attended Lindenwood College and then returned to Decatur to complete her degree in music at Millikin University. She met her husband Fritz Woyna when both were active in the Little Theater, then known as the Town and Gown Society.

They married in her parents' home on July 21, 1951. Daughter Elizabeth was their first anniversary present, born in July 1952. Daughter Susan followed in 1956, and son Fritz in 1958. Sadly he lived for only a few days. The family lived in Florida, Indiana, and Oklahoma as Fritz pursued his writing career. She became a single mother after Fritz died suddenly in 1965. She returned to school to train in library science and obtained a teaching certificate. The family returned to Decatur in 1966, and she worked as a school librarian in the Decatur Public Schools until her retirement in 1990. She made close friends on the staff of John Adams, Mary W. French, Roach, and South Shores Elementary Schools. She earned a Masters' Degree in education from Lindenwood and was active in the Decatur Education Association, including supporting the teachers' strikes of the 1960s.

After retirement, Marian began a new full-time career as a volunteer and fanatical bridge player. Her children despair of naming all of her volunteer contributions, but especially important were her work with the Decatur Public Library and St. Mary's Hospital. At the library, she assumed responsibility for sorting and preparing all books donated for the Friends of the Library annual book sale, a job to which she devoted many days of her time each week for fifteen years, and in which she often conscripted any family member within reach. Her grandchildren considered this an adventure in book treasure-hunting, and indeed this is the way she always felt about it.

Marian served on the boards of directors of the Volunteer Auxiliary at St. Mary's, Kiwaniennes, and Millikin University. She thoroughly enjoyed her work with Planned Parenthood, Rock Springs Conservation District, the Decatur Historical Society, DOVE, and others. She was active in South Shores United Methodist Church, where she was organist and newsletter editor.

She moved to Primrose Retirement Community in 2009, there creating order out of the library's chaos and sharing her enthusiasm for jigsaw puzzles and books, books, books. With the devoted assistance of son-in-law John Peoples, who became her chauffeur, secretary, and all-around helper, she continued volunteering and actively playing bridge with the Monday, Wednesday, All-States and Continental Bridge Clubs, until increasing health problems made this impossible.

Even then she remained active in the Primrose Community, where she made many cherished friends among both residents and caregivers. Her family wishes to thank the staffs of Cancer Care Center, Decatur Memorial Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, St. John's Hospice, and the office of Dr. Richard Fritz, and most especially, massage therapist Bob Jelks and the staff of Primrose Assisted Living. Their compassionate care embraced her in her last years.

Marian had a passionate love of reading which she attempted to instill in everyone she touched. Her unparalleled sense of humor and quiet determination in the face of adversity was an inspiration to all of us (although in her modesty she would never have believed that!) She will be sorely missed.

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