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Marjorie McGennis was an active lady in life

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Perhaps she was not well known in the Nevada community, but the late Marjorie McGennis was well known in the Rich Hill community and to many people elsewhere. Born April 20, 1912, the 95 year old left this life experience recently on Sept. 17, 2007.

I had intended to devote this column to the annual barbecue and auction to be held next Sunday at the McGennis Youth Center. It has been well publicized and it is the place to be Sunday. Instead of discussing the barbecue, this column is devoted to the memory of Marjorie McGennis. She was a major influence on the development of the center and has always been a major supporter.

There are many people that a person has contact with during life. Marjorie is one of many who have made a great contribution in life. It has been my experience to have known her for over 40 years. When sharing experience of life about a person that has been influential in a number of ways, it is hard to determine where to begin -- and when to stop with the comments.

It was her sister-in-law, Mary McGennis, who gave the plot of 160 acres of land that became the location of the McGennis Youth Center. Her brother and Marjorie's husband, Connie, supported her idea of the gift and was a major influence in giving her guidance in accomplishing this gift to youth.

As long as her health allowed her, Marjorie attended numerous board meetings and events at the center. She was always willing to help in any way that she could and she was always there. While Connie was helpful in the establishing of the center, he departed from this life before it became a reality. He had a strong influence in the starting of the center.

For a number of years, Marjorie was the one who sent thank you notes to those making donations to the center. It is because of her standing in the community and her involvement in the center that several donors made donations.

Marjorie had a great amount of interest in people and kept up with what they were doing. She was a faithful reader of this column and I think she continued reading it during her stay at the Willow Lane Nursing Home in Butler where she had been for the past three years. She was always interested in my family and what they were doing, as well as showing interest in my activities. She was that way with other people she knew.

A few weeks ago Randy Bell, Greg Brocka, Bob Schlyer, and I stopped by to see her. We were amazed about the many things she remembered. One of the subjects she discussed was concerning Randy's grandchildren. Randy commented that she remembered the names of his grandchildren better than he did.

She had a great amount of interest and pride in her nephews and nieces. During the years in conversations with her, she talked about them and what they were doing.

Born in Prairie Township in Bates County, the native of that area had a great deal of information about the history of the area and was aware of the people involved. During the memorial service, Beverly Sullins, Papinsville, gave a eulogy about the vast amount of knowledge that Marjorie had. When she wanted to know something about the history of Papinsville, she could call on Marjorie for the information.

One of the interests that Marjorie had was Prairie flowers. She had a great appreciation of the prairie. One of my memories includes taking a botany teacher from Cottey College up to Miss. Mary's was located up the hill from the youth center. Marjorie was there and we went out to Miss Mary's prairie. Marjorie and the teacher greatly enjoyed seeing the plants. Marjorie was referring to them by their common name and the teacher was referring to the plants by their scientific names. Mary and I didn't even see the plants they were talking about, we just looked at each other. That was one of many pleasant experiences with these two special people.

Marjorie was a member of the Missouri 4-H foundation for several years. I had forgotten that she replaced her husband Connie on the board, until I read it in the obituary. The foundation gives a great amount of support to 4-H programs in the state. She served on the youth center committee. I had the opportunity to drive her to foundation meetings and to tour some of the youth centers that were in existence at that time. The McGennis Youth Center has benefited from grants from the foundation. As a result of going to meetings with her, I spent quality time with her and observed the foundation in action.

She was an active member of the Harmony Chapter Daughters of American Revolution. Membership also included the Sprague Community Club, Foster Garden Club and Foster Art Club.

Marjorie was a person of faith, often talking about her church and about teaching a class. Brother John Doolen, officiant of the service, said, "She knew the Bible." She taught Sunday school for all ages for 25 years.

One of the great experiences in life was to have known Marjorie McGennis and have the association with her. She was an influence on many people. Marjorie was not only an active lady, but she was also a leader. Certainly she did her part in making this a better world.

Deepest sympathy is extended to her family and all of her many personal friends. Good bye, Marjorie, until we meet again.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large