Marian M. Churchill
October 27, 1925 - August 18, 2020
“Never underestimate the power of a few women with a cause” Marian Churchill
Long-time Salem resident and community activist Marian M. Churchill passed with grace on August 18, 2020 at 94 years of age. Her passing on the day of the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote, seems fitting.
Marian M. Metcalf enhanced this world by appearing at Brown’s Memorial Hospital in Conneaut, Ohio, on October 25, 1925. Due to the untimely deaths of her parents, Harold and Lucy McMillian, she and her brother, Allan were adopted by Dr. Frank and Velma Metcalf in Cleveland Heights, Ohio where they resided for Marian’s first 18 years.
After graduating from Cleveland Heights High School in 1943 she attended Western Reserve University for two years before transferring and completing her college education earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry in 1947 from University of California, Berkeley. Marian met the love of her life, Thomas (Tom) W. Churchill, on a blind date on her 21st birthday in 1946 and they were married in 1947 after graduating from UC Berkeley.
Marian and Tom arrived in Salem, Oregon in 1947 and Marian started working at the State Department of Education as a statistical clerk. Later she was employed at a physician’s office as a receptionist and laboratory technician. That was followed by four and a half years working for the California Packing Corporation as a chemist and the head of their agricultural research lab. Once settled in Salem, she immediately immersed herself in her new community and its complex issues; joining the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 1948 followed by the Oregon United Nations Association (1950) and the League of Women Voters (LWV) in 1953. She was a member of both the AAUW and LWV for the rest of her life.
Over the years she and Tom moved a number of times around Salem. By 1956 they purchased a house on Doughton Street which would become the family home for 19 years. After a couple more moves Marian and Tom settled at Capital Manor in West Salem in 2007.
Beginning in 1954, when Marian was home with the children, she still found time to be involved in important community activities through the AAUW and the LWV. That same year she joined St. Anne’s Guild at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salem. As her children grew, she also created time to be involved with various local and State boards, committees, commissions, task forces, and citizen advisory groups. Some of the boards included the Red Cross Board, Marion County Juvenile Advisory Board, Marion County Public Welfare Board, Salem Board of Ethics, Oregon Employee Relation Board, and the Oregon Symphony Board. She also found time to be involved with the Governor’s Health Planning Committee, the Salem Urban Renewal Housing Committee and the Marion County Juvenile Services Commission.
She was associated with a number of other groups such as, the American Field Service (AFS), Rotarian Women, and the local branch of the University of California Alumni.
In her spare time, she volunteered as a member of the Happytime Co-op, as a guide at the Bush Barn Gallery, as a Camp Fire assistant and Leader, and as an aide at the South Salem High School Library.
During the 1960s and 1970s Marian and Tom hosted three foreign exchange students through AFS. The first was Bruno Vogt from Switzerland, followed by Stanley Milo of the Netherlands, and concluding with Bernardo Arroyo from Costa Rica. Marian had kept in contact with all of them and their families throughout the years and all three men became adopted members of the Churchill family.
We know she would like to thank the Salem community for the recognition of her activism in community activities over the years. One of her proudest moments was when she was honored by the Salem community by being selected Mardi Gras Queen in 1967 at the 10th Annual Mardi Gras Ball in Salem. The event was a city-wide recognition of her many years of volunteer work and service in the community. She was also flattered and honored to receive the first League of Women Voters “Founders Award” in 1984 for her exemplary work for the league.
Music, reading, and investing were passions for Marian. She started learning to play the piano at age three and then changed to flute in the 5th Grade. She continued to play both instruments for the rest of her life. She was an avid reader of books and was an active member of Sequel, a book club that met at Capital Manor. She was always happy to talk about a book, give a review, or hand off a book she thought the person would enjoy reading. Marian also enjoyed her involvement with Future Profits, an investment group which met at Capital Manor as well.
She was preceded in passing by her husband, Thomas W. Churchill in 2009 and older brother, Allan Metcalf in 2011. She is survived by her son, Thomas “Tom” E. Churchill (MaryEllen); and daughter Catherine “Katie” Givens (Dan); five grandchildren; Sarah, Kara, Erin, Joe and Juliann, and nine great-grandchildren; Quinn, Isla, Wyatt, Hannah, Logan, Grayson, Hattie, Sutton and Lucy.
Marian always had time to nurture her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It might be a piano lesson, a school project, or babysitting the grandchildren; she was always there for the family. Our family matriarch will be profoundly missed; but so fondly remembered.
Due to the current COVID virus circumstances there will be no public service.
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