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Marion Emerson

1942 – May 31, 2015



Marion Emerson passed away on a family sailing vacation at Saint Barts in the Caribbean.  She is survived by her husband Fred with whom she shared nearly 54 years of marriage. She is also survived by her daughter Beth Shoemake of Purcell, OK and her son David of Dallas, TX, as well as grandchildren Steven, Matthew, Thomas and Michael.


Marion was born in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Economics and Math.  Marion and Fred started their married life in Manhattan, NY and thoroughly enjoyed six years there, where their two children were born. A change of jobs for Fred brought them to the Chicago suburbs, where he joined Greyhound-Dial Corp. In 1971 they moved to Phoenix, where for ten years she was a substitute High School math teacher in the Phoenix Public schools.  Marion spent many years as a volunteer facilitator for the Institute of Cultural Affairs.  Later she returned to graduate school to study Industrial Engineering and then joined the Bureau of Reclamation where for 13 years she was a teacher and facilitator for the newly important personal computer revolution.


Together with her family she enjoyed many adventures sailing, flying their small Cessna plane, and back packing.  The family sailed in exotic places such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Belize, the Caribbean, the San Juan Islands, Croatia, and the Lycian coast of Turkey.  Marion and Fred have hiked extensively in Arizona; they have also hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.


For 34 years Marion and Fred enjoyed their cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona (Greer, elevation 8500′). The cabin narrowly escaped burning in the Wallow Fire.  Marion was active in Greer as a Docent and Board member at the Butterfly Lodge Museum.   She worked with many non-profit organizations over the years, notably the Ecumenical Institute and the Institute of Cultural Affairs, where she was a strategic planner and facilitator.  She also served as a consultant in the village of El Bayad, Egypt.  In addition to volunteer work, she also enjoyed fine art, exploring spirituality and  historical research.




Long time colleague, guardian, their house was the first religious house in Phoenix. Lifelong social pioneer, town meeting circuited, an honor to know her.

Jim Wiegel