Marion Spragg McGee Guffey
February 19, 1924 – October 14, 2020
Marion Spragg McGee Guffey died Oct. 14, 2020 at the family home in Columbia, Missouri. She was 96. She was born Feb.19 1924 in the family home in Ridgeway, Missouri to Lloyd and Lillian Spragg.
Early on, Marion was schooled in the art of conversation and inquiry by her mother, a school teacher, and her father, the publisher of the Ridgeway Journal.
“My father knew everyone in our small county and took me with him when he traveled to Jeff CIty in the 1930s, after he won a seat in the Missouri senate,” she recalled at a family gathering. To keep the people of Harrison county informed, Daddy set up a radio show. I sat in front of a microphone and read what he wrote. He called the broadcast the ‘Little Marion Show.’"
Marion attended Ridgway High School, where she graduated in 1942 as valedictorian of her class. She then moved to St. Louis and lived with a family friend who got her a job as assistant to an Army general in charge of procuring armaments for the troops. Marion recounted that the General often had her sign his name on orders, saying, “If you think it looks good, Ms. Spragg, go ahead and sign it for me.”
After a year of working there Marion moved to Columbia to attend Mizzou where her mother and father had attended. She lived in the Chi Omega House and was later president of that sorority.
In 1946 she married James Albert McGee, a law student who had just been discharged from the Army Air Corp after serving in the European campaign.
She graduated from the MU School of Business in 1947. For the next 30 years she was on the faculty of Stephens College where she taught personal appearance and modeling.
Former student Lynne Turner, now an artist living in Portland, Oregon, recalls, “She was always cheerful and beautifully dressed. After teaching a class on shaping eyebrows, she singled me out to tell me that I wouldn’t need to shape my eyebrows because mine were already shaped nicely and made me look intelligent. So sad she is gone.”
For Kathy Bye McGilley, also a student at Stephens in the early 1970’s, the relationship with Marion became familial. “Marion was more than a teacher to me. She took me under her wing and became a second mother to me.”
During her tenure at Stephens, Marion was asked by TWA, an international airline at the time, to develop an orientation program in appearance and poise for newly hired flight attendants. She eventually was tapped to head the college’s Personnel Department and was recognized as employee of the year while in that role.
In 1974, her husband, James died. Eight years later she married Donal Guffey, who had known Marion and James since the two men attended Law School together. They were married for 34 years until his death in 2016.
Marion stayed engaged with life after retirement, working as a volunteer at Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital and was very active in PEO, which recently honored her membership of 75 years.
In 2017, the National President of Chi Omega honored her for 75 years of membership in its sisterhood and in 2018 she was recognized as a 50 year member of the Missouri United Methodist Church.
All her life Marion cherished her friends. She loved communion with new and old acquaintances and talking on the phone with her dear friends Mary Lou Spradling, Elizabeth Hensley and Marciele Maledy. She was a Mizzou football ticket holder for 50 years, until recently. A final thrill came when she watched the Tigers upset LSU Oct. 10 with her longtime friend Rosie Berry.
Her daughter-in-law Cynthia said, “Marion was amazing in so many ways. Wherever we went in town, she would know the people behind the counter, in the doctor’s office or just shopping. She cared enough to inquire about them and their families in the most genuine way and then she gave her full attention to each person and truly listened to their stories. I will miss her deeply.”
Marion is survived by her sons, James Michael McGee of Columbia, Christopher Spragg McGee of Rocheport, daughters-in-law Cynthia McGee and Lynn McHaffey, a brother, Hal Spragg of Kingman, Arizona, and nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. And Callie the cat.
A private graveside service is planned at Memorial Park Cemetery. Those wishing to make a donation in her name may do so to the charity of their choice .
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Marion Spragg McGee Guffey
October 23, 2020
Mike and Chris, Mrs. McGee (Marion) was a good friend. She hired me to be her secretary, my first job at Stephens College. We shared many good times. I looked up to her and admired her. Two years ago I picked her up and went to lunch with two other Stephens people. She was the life of the party! My heart goes out to you and I grieve for her.
October 22, 2020
Mike and Chris, your Mom was always so elegant and kind. I’m sorry for your loss. Janeen Lindhorst-Osborne
October 21, 2020
I met Marion as a volunteer at Ellis Fischel Gift Shop. A beautiful lady who engaged people in conversations so warm and sincere, it seemed she had a heart open for everyone. Marion will be missed by many whose lives she has touched.
October 20, 2020
Marion was my neighbor and cherished friend. I’m not much of a cook, but she loved getting together for my home-made chicken soup, shrimp Alfredo, or fresh strawberry pie. It was the conversation we enjoyed more than the food. We spoke often by phone during COVID quarantine about politics, the wildlife that shared our wooded backyards, her hair appointments, neighborhood gossip, our aches and our pains. Marion was charming and gracious, witty and opinionated, joyful and gregarious, and sharp as a tack. My daughter and grandchildren arrived from Minnesota the evening of her unexpected passing and were heartsick at the news. Riley, age 16, has baked chocolate chip cookies for Marion upon most visits and she was looking forward to doing so again this trip while social distancing. Marion has kept photos of Riley and Hayden on her refrigerator since they were toddlers and she was like another grandma to them. And they’ve loved her cats, which were always part of her family. My thoughts and prayers to Mike and Cindy, Chris and Lynn and all of Marion’s devoted friends and acquaintances. She was a precious gem who will be sorely missed.
October 19, 2020
It was such a pleasure having Marion as one of our patients. I loved seeing her in the lab always smiling. She had a great sense of humor and will be missed so much. I would love to hug her one more time. Thanks for all the laughs and candy, Marion.
October 18, 2020
I was so sad to hear of Marion’s death this week when I talked to my Aunt, Elizabeth Hensley, today. I am thankful the two of them had a good phone conversation on Tuesday. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you all.