From Adam, Marilane's Husband:
These have been the longest weeks of our lives, as we tried to cling to hope that Marilane was still alive. Thank you to all who have offered words of encouragement, prayers, tips, help, and support during this very difficult time. We experienced firsthand the extreme love of friends and strangers. From a young woman who posted Marilane’s picture at truck stops all the way in Florida, to those who participated in prayer vigils, to those who volunteered to help us do a sonar search, the support has been amazing. Marilane was dearly loved by family and friends. The all-out effort to find her is a testimony to that. We’d like to share more about Marilane, the person that you prayed for, and helped us find.
How to describe Marilane? It's a question I've asked myself over the past few days and a question that has intimidated me because I want just the right words to paint a picture of who she was and so this tribute is something I've wrestled with for the last couple days. So here's my feeble attempt.
The first thing I loved and respected about Marilane was her faith. She was a woman who thought deeply about God and wanted to know Him in a very real way. She was never satisfied with "Sunday School" answers or Christian cliches but wanted to know what God was like and what Scripture actually meant. There were many times at night that I would wake up and find her with her Bible and/or theological books open with a journal writing down notes of what she was learning. Those journals are now precious keepsakes. She made me want to know God more intimately like she did and I will forever be grateful to her for that. She has made God so real to me and so many people.
She was/is an amazing wife and great companion. She made me a better person. She taught me how to work hard, pay attention to detail, and not to be afraid to ask difficult questions. She was such a fun person and knew how to make me laugh. I will miss her wit and sense of humor. Over that last few years we began to play golf together and be more intentional about going on trips just the two of us. I will forever cherish those memories.
Marilane was/is a terrific mom. She always wanted what was best for our kids and would go to great lengths to ensure that they were taken care of. They adore her and she always was taking pictures and videos of them because of the joy they brought to her. They were her whole world and she showed Jesus to them.
Marilane loved not only God, me and our kids, but she loved people especially those who are marginalized in society. She always had a burden for kids in foster care and in need of adoption and was generous with her time to help organizations that cared for them. One ministry that she gave to for years and still does is Compassion International because she wanted to know that girls and boys in this world were cared for and knew Jesus. She always had a great sense of what was right and wrong. Injustices in the world burdened her a great deal because she saw people through the eyes of Jesus.
Marilane, I love you and miss you. Thank you for being my rock and my best friend. I can't wait to see you again.
From Marilane’s Mom:
Words can’t express the beauty in Marilane’s heart. As a child, she was spunky and loved adventure. I was grateful that she didn’t enunciate her words well when she was little, because you never knew what might fly out of her mouth. One time when she left Sunday school class she hollered, “Goodbye gunks!”, by which she meant “Goodbye, skunks!” Thankfully, nobody understood. They all just waved and nodded. She also had a deep love of others that showed itself in special ways. As a little girl, she was worried that her grandfather might not be a Christian because he left the room whenever the topic of God came up. She devised a plan. She waited until he was comfortable in his chair, then she sat on his lap so he couldn’t leave and told him all about Jesus.
Marilane was drawn to helping others who were experiencing life crises, so she got her Master’s of Divinity and became a hospital chaplain. I remember how fulfilled she was as she ministered to those in need. She told me of cradling a newborn baby that was stillborn. She held the infant in her arms and marveled at his perfection. Marilane knew that the mother needed someone to acknowledge the baby’s beauty so that she wouldn’t fear giving birth to another child.
Marilane, you are a hero, both in our family and far beyond. There’s a hole in my heart that nothing can fill. I sorely miss your daily calls, your gentle spirit, and your sweet laughter. Heaven has become closer to me now because it holds you. Never before has it been so real. Please know how deeply you are loved. I wish I could hold you tightly right now. I treasure the thought of our reunion one day when I can hug my girl with all my heart again!
Love you for always,
From Marilane's Dad:
Marilane, we shared November birthdays, and you were always my Kansas Sunflower! You won an art contest with a painting of a covered wagon crossing the Kansas prairie, and your artwork was used on the cover of "Kansas Too!" magazine. You had a good memory and learned all the county abbreviations on the Kansas license tags as well as memorizing over 700 Bible verses at AWANA Club to win the Timothy Award! You were an avid reader, even reading books while walking down the grocery store aisles on our shopping trips. And you were the only one of your siblings to study Latin. I remember taking you to the Jackson County Spelling Bee in 8th grade. You did really well, making it through several rounds. I was proud of you. The best part was getting lunch on the way home. You had me stop at Taco Bell for the first time and advised me to order a 7-layer burrito with a Sprite. Very good! We also shared an interest in history, especially the Civil War. You watched the movie, "Gettysburg", with me several times (all four hours and twenty minutes of it!), and then painted a watercolor picture of the battle for me. You loved going to Royals baseball games and getting player autographs. And on cold winter mornings, you always liked the sound of my shovel scraping snow off the driveway. You noticed the "little things". And it will be the little things that will remind me of you.
I will always love you,
P.S. Thank you for the CD you made for me of my favorite church hymns. I will feel your presence beside me whenever I listen to it.
TRIBUTES FROM SIBLINGS
I have such sweet and cozy memories of Marilane and me playing paper dolls on the floor of our bedroom when we were little. We toddled around everywhere together. But my favorite memory is of the two of us kneeling by our bedroom window to pray at night. That's when she asked Jesus into her heart.
From that young age, Marilane's faith in the Lord was always very important to her. Honestly, I don't know what any of us would do without that right now. She clung to her faith to the very end. The only way we can have peace in this is because we know she is safe with Jesus, and He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). I love you, sweet sister. And I look forward to seeing you again!
Facing the thought of a world without you – big sister Lane - is so painful, and my mind keeps racing as it’s flooded with all the precious memories of you. I will cherish these memories and look forward to the day when we can meet again, “whole and complete.”
You were my hero – the smart and talented sister who I looked up to. I’ll always remember that little girl with the big compassionate heart to help others. Remember when we were small and gathered up all the acorns into a pile for the needy squirrels? You put a “Free Acorns” sign by it to make sure they got the message. (I guess we figured they needed some help.)
You always shined when there was someone whom you could help. Each trial and tribulation of life – tornados, table saw injuries, surgeries, car wrecks, falling through the ice, my pants getting caught on the fence when I was four - came with a memory of YOU, big sister Lane coming to the rescue. You were always on a rescue mission.
I feel so terrible that I couldn’t be there to rescue you in your final hour. If you were still here right now I would just hug you tight and not let you go.
When my race is run and my time is through, I need you to please be there to greet me when I pass over to the other side.
Love you Lane!
Marilane - our beautiful, smart, creative, strong, gentle, giving, capable sister. A piece of my heart is now in Heaven. Our family will never again be the same without you. As a child, I admired you - my big sis - and your accomplishments. I admired your pursuit for God and love for people, especially in college when your call to missions took you halfway around the world. Then life brought us together in a unique season when we both attended Samford University. Me as an undergraduate student and you as a graduate student at the Beeson Divinity School. I would shove cookies and sandwiches in your student mailbox, and you would sneak into my dorm room to leave sweet surprises or to just hang out between classes. As life brought us closer together, even our styles and wardrobes became the same. We would repeatedly and unknowingly buy the same outfits. Even to this day, our lives share another sweet similarity. God gave us each 3 amazing children (two adoring sons and our precious baby girls). The cousins will forever hear our cherished memories of Auntie Laner as we keep your name alive and very close to our hearts.
I love you, Marilane.
Oh how my heart breaks for my big sister who was so thoughtful, kind, caring, hard- working, gorgeous, brilliant, and brave. My heart aches for another opportunity to hug you and talk with you right now, Laner. So many sweet memories of you I cherish deeply… I remember when I graduated from college, you tried to help me find a job, sending links for job postings. Eventually, both of us got our real estate licenses, and we would call each other for ideas, advice, and to discuss the housing market. You were also particularly good at being there for people in their darkest days. I’ll never forget a very difficult situation I faced in my personal life when you were there for me for hours and hours on the phone for days when I deeply needed you. You also always gave very thoughtful gifts. Some of my favorite clothing items, shoes, and jewelry over the years were things you picked out for me and surprised me with, not just for birthdays and holidays, but randomly because they made you think of me. I love you so much, Marilane. You’ve left a huge hole in my heart, and I look forward to the day when we can all be together again.
Marilane was my older sister. We were 13 years apart. She babysat me and watched over me when I was growing up. One year she helped me dress up as a cowboy and took me trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and made sure I got plenty of candy. As a kid, she also knew that I really liked turtles and took me to parks so that I could pretend like I was a field biologist. She had a very motherly and tender spirit. She was compassionate about serving others and was very adventurous and went on missions trip all the way in Australia for 6 months. I got to visit her there with my family when I was 8. We laughed as she took pictures of me pretending to be like Steve Irwin while hiking down trails in the rainforest. Her heart was always for the Lord and serving His kingdom. She was the first of us to travel all the way to Australia. Now she’s the first to explore the far reaches of heaven. Miss you a ton, Marilane.
From Left: Adam (Marilane's husband), McKenzie, Micah, & Marilane