Marian B. Wolfe, 90Marian Wolfe, 90, of River Falls, Wis., died of cancer Friday, Dec. 30, at Our House assisted living, where she had lived the past month.
Marian Wolfe, 90, of River Falls, Wis., died of cancer Friday, Dec. 30, at Our House assisted living, where she had lived the past month.
Her life was centered on her family, her church, the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and a love of education, bridge, travel and good friends. The daughter, sister and mother of Christian ministers, she was filled with optimism, good humor, compassion, faith in God and love for people.
"I don't have anything to worry about," she said the week before she died. "I've had a good, long life, better than anything I could have imagined. I don't know what happens next, but I know it will be a wonderful adventure. God will take care of me, and God will continue to take care of you."
She was born Marian Bennett on May 11, 1921, in Augusta, W. Va., to the Rev. Olis E. and Ada (Saville) Bennett. Her family moved to Johnstown, Pa., and later to Monessen, Pa., where she met her future husband, M. Wayne Wolfe, at the church her father led.
In 1942, Marian graduated from State Teachers College at California, Pa. In 1943, she married Wayne in Texas, where he was teaching navigation at the Hondo Army Air Field near San Antonio. In 1946, with two children, they moved to Indiana. She taught high school English and math while her husband earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.
The couple moved to River Falls in 1950, where Wayne started the journalism department at River Falls State Teacher's College. In 1953, after a summer of study in Mexico City, they moved to Bloomington, Ind., where Wayne completed coursework on his Ph. D. in Latin American studies. In 1955, they returned to River Falls, where Wayne later became vice chancellor. Marian is remembered as a gracious hostess to visiting dignitaries, faculty, students and alumni.
Over the years, Marian was very active in the First Congregational United Church of Christ in River Falls, was a leader of numerous local, association and conference committees and a delegate to the national General Synod. She also was active in the League of Women Voters. A member of P.E.O. Chapter T in River Falls since 1961, she held statewide office for 7 years, including state president in 1976-77. In 1977, she and Wayne and teenage daughter Kate moved to Jamaica for a year, where he was a Fulbright visiting professor in journalism at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. The couple played bridge much of their married life, and Marian was a member of several bridge clubs in River Falls.
They traveled extensively, especially after Wayne retired in 1985, primarily to Latin America and Europe. They also visited Australia, home of Al Ball, an AFS student who stayed with them one year during high school and has visited them over the years. They spent winters in Mexico and south Texas for about 10 years during their retirement.
After her cancer diagnosis in late November, Marian entered hospice care and moved to Our House assisted living in River Falls. She frequently expressed her delight in the staff and the compassionate care she received at Our House and from Adoray Home Health & Hospice.
Marian was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, the Rev. Ralph Bennett and the Rev. Arthur Bennett. She is survived by sons Warren (Sheryl Fairbanks) Wolfe of Roseville, Minn., and the Rev. Charles (Mary) Wolfe of Prescott, Wis.; daughters Mary (James) Bates of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kate (Ralph Jenson) Wolfe-Jenson of Woodbury, Minn.; 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; and sister, Arlene Dodson of Mackinaw, Ill.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 110 3rd St., River Falls, Wis., with the Rev. Chris Myers officiating. A lunch will follow at the church. Memorials are preferred to the church, the P.E.O. Foundation, or the M. Wayne and Marian Wolfe Journalism Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation.
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