Doane, Marian Elizabeth (Edwards), 92, passed away peacefully at Lakeside, Willow Valley Communities, on September 2, 2021, following a 10-year struggle with progressive dementia. She was born in Kansas City, MO, on November 24, 1928, the second of three children born to the late Ned Shoop and Alice Wolfe Edwards. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, John W. Doane and her sister, Alice C. Hinkamp. Her brother, Ned W. (Barbara) Edwards, of Beulah, MI, survives, as do her 4 children: Jennifer (Andrew) Cross, Elizabeth (Dick) Richard, Jonathan (Anne Stewart), Christopher (Rebecca Heck); 6 grandchildren: Stephanie (Dale) Barnhart, Michael (Christin Harper) Greenawalt, Nathan, David (Jennifer Stewart), Elizabeth, and Rebecca Doane; 4 great-grandchildren: Chase Barnhart, Brooke and Drew Greenawalt, and Violet Marian Doane; and dozens of beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Throughout her life, Marian was a “people person.” She highly valued personal relationships. As one who conversed with people with ease, she welcomed them into her life and home, and cultivated friendships which she faithfully maintained throughout her life, as her health circumstances allowed. From an early age, Marian learned the importance of family and “roots,” as aunts, uncles, and cousins were included at Sunday dinners and holiday celebrations. Her summers were spent on Crystal Lake, Beulah, MI, at “Pinecrest” (55 acres of wooded bluff and beach property purchased by her grandfather and his brother in 1903), where her life was further enriched by the presence of extended family and friends.
Marian excelled academically. After transferring from Kansas City’s Paseo High School, she was valedictorian and president of Student Government at Sunset Hill High School from which she graduated in 1946. A recipient of a Seven College National Scholarship to Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, Marian boarded a train east to Philadelphia. At Bryn Mawr, Marian majored in History and minored in Political Science. While there, she was a recipient of the Gillespie Prize in American History, served as Associate Editor of the Bryn Mawr College News, and was chosen as a delegate to the National Student Association. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, class of 1950. She later wrote, “Having never been east of the Mississippi River and on my own until I came to Bryn Mawr that October day in 1946, I continue to be amazed at how that choice affected my entire life,… coupled with an abiding faith in God’s Redemptive Love.”
A life-long Presbyterian, it was at a Christian student fellowship gathering at Bryn Mawr that she met her husband, Philadelphia native and Haverford student, John Winthrop Doane. Upon graduating from their respective colleges, Marian spent a year in Paris, France, where she worked under the auspices of the World Council of Churches for a French private organization (CIMADE) which provided aid and social services to eastern European refugees fleeing repressive regimes from behind the Iron Curtain. She returned to Kansas City to marry John on August 4, 1951, in the wedding dress made for her in Paris. The couple began their honeymoon on the RMS Queen Mary, returning to Paris, where both resumed social work activities with refugees and traveled throughout Europe. In 1952, they returned to the United States for John to continue his education at Princeton Theological Seminary. Marian worked as a cataloger at Princeton’s Firestone Library until John received his Master of Divinity in 1954. During the next 10 years, John was called to pastor two Pennsylvania churches (Leechburg and the Pittsburgh suburb of Pleasant Hills) in succession and Marian focused on her roles as mother to a growing family and minister’s wife.
In 1961, John was called to First Presbyterian Church, Morgantown, West Virginia, the home of West Virginia University (WVU). With John’s encouragement, Marian returned to the workplace. With her past experience working in France and her mastery of the French language, Marian was well prepared for working with international students seeking to further their education at WVU. She was employed from 1963-65 by the University’s Foreign Student Office, first as Foreign Student Adviser to international students providing counsel on a vast array of academic and personal issues they faced, and then as Director of the Host Family Program, placing over 250 students with more than 100 local families. While working for the Foreign Student Office, Marian was awarded a French Government Grant to study international student issues at French Universities. She, along with John and a group of colleagues from around the country, visited higher education institutions throughout France, ultimately having the report of their research published by the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors. In 1966, Marian accepted a position as the Director of the YWCA at WVU, where she advised and counseled female students and wives on career, education, and personal matters. She concluded her employment at WVU in 1972, after serving as an Assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. After receiving certification in theory and methods of transactional analysis she then spent two years as an Instructor in Parent, and Teacher, Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.; T.E.T.), providing workshops on communication skills to Monongalia County Head Start/Follow Through, pre-school, and elementary school teachers. In 1975, Marian returned to the classroom to earn the academic credit for the work to which she’d devoted her entire adult life. While a graduate student, Marian worked diligently to expand the development, outreach of services, and broad-based community support of the Morgantown Women’s Information Center, while counseling women facing difficult life situations and choices. She received her M.S.W. from the WVU School of Social Work in 1977, and was credentialed by the Academy of Certified Social Workers in 1980.
Marian had just been offered a position as an Instructor for the WVU School of Social Work when John was called to First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA, in 1977. Shortly after settling in Lancaster, Marian began employment with Tressler Lutheran Refugee Services to coordinate services for Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian refugees arriving in the area. She emersed herself in the life of the church, and provided leadership as a participant on various committees. Active in Church Women United, Presbyterian Women, and the congregation’s Women’s Association, she carried on the passion of her parents for international mission. Her keen interests in history and writing were put to good use, as she co-authored a chapter for First Presbyterian Church’s 250th Anniversary commemorative book.
Following John’s retirement from active ministry in 1994. the couple continued to reside in Lancaster, spending summers at their Crystal Lake, MI cottage, “Hilltop,” before moving to Lakes, at Willow Valley Communities in 2005. During their time in Michigan, Marian and John were founding members of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Beulah, MI, where they were active in church life. In Lancaster, Marian continued to enjoy research and writing for her “Art Class,” reading and writing poetry, attending cultural events, social occasions with old and new friends, including their “tennis group,” and travel. However, she got the most pleasure from the time spent with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, giving each of them opportunities for individual attention.
In every community where they settled, Marian was active in local and national organizations. Among her affiliations were: the League of Women Voters, YWCA Advisory Board, P.E.O., and Friends of the Lancaster Library. She was a fervent supporter of women’s education, reproductive rights, gender equality and social justice in all areas of life. In addition to serving as class editor for the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin, she was a District Information Chairman for the College, and was co-chair of her class’s 50th reunion. She was a constant advocate for victims of oppression, the under-privileged and disadvantaged and for world peace. She supported the work of Amnesty International, and proudly flew the flag of the United Nations. To her family and friends, she is remembered as a woman of great conversation, conviction, compassion, and creativity.
The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Lakeside, Willow Valley Communities, for their attentiveness to the health and comfort of our mother and father for the past five years; and especially over the past 18 months during various periods of isolation due to the pandemic. For your compassion for those under your care and comfort to our family, we are eternally grateful.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Marian’s life will take place on October 23, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church, 140 E Orange St, Lancaster, PA 17602. Time of service will be determined. A combined celebration of Marian and John’s lives is being planned in Beulah, MI during the summer 2022. For the safety of attendees, the family asks all guests to follow and respect COVID protocols.
In lieu of flowers, family requests memorial gifts be directed to:
Granddaughter Elizabeth Doane’s participation (to honor Marian) in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 2, 2021 in Atlanta, GA https://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=14405&pg=personal&px=19583019
First Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, PA fpclancasterpa.org
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Beulah, MI benziestandrews.com
Crystal Lake & Watershed Association, Beulah, MI crystallakewatershed.org