Marilyn Aileen Lee
August 18, 1937 – March 9, 2018
Marilyn A. Lee, 80, passed away March 9, 2018 at John Knox Village Hospice House. She was born August 18, 1937 in Newton Ks. to Mary D. Schroeder and John K. Schroeder. She married Richard S. Lee Dec 23, 1955. She had 2 children Richard S. Lee Jr and Victoria S. Lee (Kirk). She is proceeded in death by her parents and son. She is survived by her Husband of 62 years Dick. She also leaves behind her Daughter Susie and Son-in-law Darren Kirk. She leaves 4 grandchildren, Sean Kirk, Samantha Barber, Nick Kirk, Noelle Kirk, 2 great grandsons Hayden and Liam Barber, and her Sister Pamela Babcock. She embraced all her friends and family into her circle of love. New people she met quickly became a part of her family. She treated all with love and respect. Her life was her family, church family, camping family, YMCA family and work family. She shared her gifts with all leaving behind a legacy of music, joy, friendship and everlasting Love.
Marilyn Lee entertained people her entire life. One of the things we did together was teach Sunday School. Mostly she taught and I helped. I remember very clearly one lesson she taught on the Parable of talents from Matthew 25: 14. In it Jesus talks about how we are all given talents according to our own ability and we are to share them and use them in the service of our Master, not hide or bury them. I have always remembered that lesson and try to look for the talent in everyone, whether it’s shining on stage or being the strong support enabling others to shine. And shine she did.
Marilyn Aileen Schroeder was born on August 18, 1937, in Newton Kansas. She was the joy of her parents and grandparents, and they were determined to help her shine. She started with the piano around age 7. Her mom, Mary, used to love to tell the story of her first piano recital. After the recital the teacher came up and said, “Marilyn played beautifully, and I am sure not a person in the audience realized she made up about half of it.” That must have been her first composition.
When she was almost 12, she met her first love: her sister Pam. Being a big sister and mentor was one of her favorite things. Determined to have a singing partner, she started teaching Pam to sing and harmonize with her at a very young age. Whispering Hope, In the Garden, and Lemon Tree were always requested from the pair at family gatherings.
When Marilyn was 15, her father was called up to serve in the military, and her whole family moved to Frankfurt, Germany. Someone from the U.S.O. heard her sing at a high school concert and asked her parents to let her share her talent by touring weekends with a U.S.O. group that entertained service men and women around Germany. They always sent a military escort for her because of her young age.
Almost two years later, her family returned to Raytown, and she renewed her friendships. One of those friendships was with Beth Lee. They grew up two blocks from each other and had always been close friends. Beth had an older brother, Dick, who tolerated his little sister’s friends over the years. One weekend he came home from his studies at K-State and saw how Marilyn had somehow blossomed into a beautiful young woman, and they started dating. Beth and Marilyn went to a fraternity function at K-State. Someone found out mom could sing and convinced her to get up and perform with the band. It was at that moment that Dick fell in love with this beautiful woman with the beautiful voice. He wasted no time in proposing. She was a senior in high school and he was a senior in college. Dick had to serve in the military and did not want to be without her, so on Dec. 23,1955, Dick and Marilyn were married at Country Club Christian Church. Their newlywed bliss was soon to be interrupted with Dick’s 18-month deployment to Korea. It was a very difficult separation, but love endured. On his return, they started their life together in Iowa where Richard Stanton Lee, Jr., better known as Ricky, was born. Years later and a move back to Raytown, daughter Victoria Susanne, Susie was born.
It was around this time that Marilyn picked up the guitar and taught herself to play. This really allowed her to share her gift with many more people in a greater variety of venues. She performed in church choir musicals that would entertain at nursing homes, lighting up the faces of the elderly. At any occasion where kids were present the calls would soon start for Marilyn to get out her guitar and sing “Froggie Went A Courtin’’ or any of her wide repertoire of songs. She always complied with a smile and a song.
The next few years were family, part-time work, church and camping with friends. She produced and directed several Easter musicals for the youth at Broadview Church. She directed the “Wonder Van Christmas in Summer.” The show would go to daycares, nursing homes and shelters spreading joy and love.
In 1981 when she was 44, she decided to go back to school to get a college education, fulfilling a lifelong dream and promise to her mother. She auditioned and was accepted into the UMKC Conservatory of Music. We went to school together and had a blast. I am not sure Dad’s checkbook would agree. We had so many good times. The kids at the conservatory accepted and respected her in despite the age difference. They loved her just as much as she loved them. Since music and kids were her two favorite things, she thought she should become a music teacher. She was in her element of music and people everywhere. She was friend and mom to all of the traditional college students. She got so much joy spending time with all of them and sharing ideas. But Marilyn finally decided that music composition was the degree she wanted. She forged through and the last step to graduation was the senior recital. The Kansas City Symphony selected one of her pieces called the “Plaza Suite” to play. After playing it, the entire symphony stood and applauded. It was a rare and heartfelt honor receiving an ovation from her peers playing in the Symphony.
Next came one of her favorite and most important roles. Grandma, from the day each one of her grandchildren were born they were the loves of her life and of course the most talented and beautiful grandchildren ever. To each one she played a different and special role. She taught them the true meaning of unconditional love. She knew that simple time or grand adventures alike they would make memories together to become a part of them as adults. No matter how big the problem or bad the indiscretion they knew they could talk to her. She would take the time to listen to their story. Let them know when she approved or disapproved of their actions. Most importantly she always let them know how much she loved them. Let them know they were capable of accomplishing anything with hard work and perseverance.
When Dick and Marilyn weren’t doing the grandparent thing, they were on the road as snow birds. They had group of church friends they camped with, spending January through March in Arizona, plus once a month they traveled to some closer destination. While at Gold Canyon resort, they were always putting on plays and parades and, you guessed it, Mom was in the thick of things. When they were not on the road, mom became a certified water aerobics instructor. She spent many years teaching and communing with friends at the Raytown YMCA. She spent many years as an instructor for Weight Loss companies. Helping and entertaining others was her passion and joy.
Mom wore many hats, but the one I liked best was mom. I know that everyone thinks they have the best mom (and sister) in the world, but I knew it, and I thank God everyday that he blessed me by letting me be a part of her life.
- Memorial Service Friday, March 16, 2018
- Graveside Service Saturday, March 24, 2018
Marilyn Aileen Lee
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March 15, 2018
Dick, our prayers are with you and your family. Maria and I will always remember the fun outings we had going to Branson with the Mosimanns and Conways. We remember your visit to our lake place and without fail Marilyn entertained us under the stars. Marilyn was always enthusiastically ready for the next outing our group took.
She will be missed.
Maria and Ken Campbell