Funeral Celebration of Life Services for Marilyn Beck, age 84, of Lenox, who passed away Saturday, September 18, 2021 at the Lenox Care Center will be held Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 10:30 AM at the Lenox United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held at the Ritchie Funeral Home on Tuesday from 3 to 7 with the family greeting friends from 5 to 7. Interment will be held at North Fairview Cemetery in Lenox. Memorials may be directed to Taylor County 4-H or the Lenox United Methodist Church. Memories may be shared with the family at www.ritchiefuneralhome.com under Obituaries. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Bedford where we ‘Celebrate Life’.
Marilyn Lola Beck was born in Lincoln Township in Adams County Iowa on September 19, 1936 to Glen and Lola (Schafer) Vogel. She was the oldest sibling of Galen, Eleanor, and Hugh. The family farm northwest of Lenox is where she grew up and spent time playing with her many cousins, participating in 4-H, and learning to play piano. She attended Lenox High School where she graduated in the class of 1954. It was in that class that she found the love of her life, James “Jim” Beck.
Jim & Marilyn were anxious to start a life together. It must have been love that made Jim decide to sell his envied 1956 Dodge Royal (that was rumored to be a “runner”) to have enough money to buy a ring. They married on September 11,1955. By December of 1956, they welcomed their first born, Darwin James, who they adored. She worked at Barker Implement as a young wife but after Darwin was born she began her calling as a wife & mother. She took great pride in her children and consistently supported them during their successes as well as through their struggles.
In February 1957, the family moved to the Beck family farm 4 miles east of Lenox. The house was traditionally small and without many closets. Together they worked to update the home to eventually make room for two daughters, Linda Sue & Dianne Renae. They were thrilled to be a family of 5.
In their early years, Marilyn & Jim became 4-H leaders, mentoring Taylor county youth. This was a great fit for her as she could be creative, sew, organize, teach, meet new people, and spend time socializing.
Marilyn believed strongly in improving the community where she lived. She & Jim were members of the Lenox Development Corporation. She was a long time member of the Methodist Church Women’s Circle. In the late 80’s, she served as a VISTA volunteer in Taylor county to help people get food assistance. She was part of the Lenox Tourism Committee & received recognition at the state level for success at bringing tourists to Lenox for the holiday lights. She joined the Lenox Ambulance Board & raised enough money to buy the first defibrillator in Lenox. She was always thankful for the people who joined her on those committees because she said it made her job easy.
Music was always a part of daily life for Marilyn. Whether it was whistling in the kitchen like Snow White when doing housework or playing the piano at home while Jim sang, there was always music. She accompanied from high school all through her adulthood. She had such fond memories of singing in the “Lentennialaires” which was a local singing group created to promote Lenox’s Centennial Celebration around southwest Iowa. They even cut a record. She & Jim were members of the Lenox Methodist adult choir for 35 years, directing it for some of those years, playing piano for others. She was part of the Lenox Music Boosters and instrumental in putting together the annual carnival. To add to the list, she and Billie Jean Barker sang at over 200 funerals.
Marilyn ran a tight ship as far as bookkeeping and homemaking but she was ok with running a smidge late on occasion. Jim would be in the car, honking while the girls finished up. Marilyn was often applying pink lipstick on her way out the door.
Jim passed away suddenly in 1987 due to stress from the 80’s farm crisis, leaving Marilyn widowed at age 50. Although she had a firm understanding of the farm books, she was not a farmer. This was a pivotal & challenging time for her. She demonstrated resilience, business savvy, and persistence to not only keep the farm running but successfully navigate the downturn of the farming economy. Marilyn was thankful to partner with Darwin a year later to help tend to the family farm operation, eventually achieving a century farm recognition in 2008. To help manage during the loss of Jim, she chose to return to full time work at Barker Implement as a bookkeeper and worked there until age 72. She greatly enjoyed the years spent in the office (fondly referred to as the henhouse) with co-workers Billie Jean & Lahni Jean.
Marilyn eventually remarried to Joseph Matheny and was happy to have someone to spend her life with and more kids and grandkids to love. Joe was an avid gardener and Marilyn helped by dispersing and canning as much produce as she could. Later in life, she enjoyed traveling with her siblings and cousin Verla to California, among others. Those trips were full of fun & laughter.
She was fortunate to have such a strong friend group. For almost 50 years on Sunday nights, she played with “the card club”. Most were couples from her high school days.
The family that she had created grew and grew. She proudly attended as many of her children and grandchildren’s activities as she could to show her support. As school activities slowed, organizing family birthday parties, holidays, family vacations, and Vogel/Schafer reunions became a favorite pastime.
She admits to living a good, long life. Despite heartaches and challenges, she leaves a legacy of community betterment, of life-long friendships and of a family who love and laugh as much as she did.
On September 18, 2021 Marilyn succumbed to complications of Parkinson’s disease. She joins her parents, her brother Galen and sister Eleanor, her husband Jim Beck & Joe Matheny, her daughter Linda Wheeler and grandsons Devon Wheeler and Zach Churchill as well as many other loved ones who welcome her with open arms in heaven.
She is survived by her brother Hugh (Sheryl) Vogel of Lenox, sister-in-law Elaine Vogel of Huntington Beach,CA, brother-in-law Steve Steuckradt of Corning. Sister-in-laws Floy Davenport of Diagonal & Gladys Gose of Lenox. Children Darwin (Christy) Beck, Dianne (Stephen) Jenkins, Ronda and Monte Churchill of Bedford, Tim and Vonda Matheny of Siloam Springs. Grandchildren Krysti (Patrick) Shaver of Lenexa,KS, Samantha (Tony) Cosgrove of Omaha, Kady Beck of Clearfield, Kortney Beck of Creston, James Beck (Staci Woodside) of Lenox, Tiana and Kyle McKee of Lenox, Kelsey Wheeler (Adam Pool) of Mt. Ayr, Audrey and Ross Farwell of Northboro, Allysn, Morgan, Kendyl Jenkins of Indianola, Cody and Beth Churchill of Grimes, Colin Matheny of Fayetteville, AR, Ashley and Justin Estes of Fayetteville, AR. 22 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, cousins, and a host of cherished friends.
We will forever hold the precious memory of Marilyn in our hearts.
May she be at peace in God’s loving care.