OBITUARY

Frances Amelia Gibson Marley

August 19, 1940April 4, 2018
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Frances Gibson Marley, 77, daughter of the late William Nathan Gibson, Jr. and Amelia Vardell Maxwell Gibson, went to be with the Lord surrounded by her loving family on April 4, 2018. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and educator, Frances touched and transformed countless lives. Born in Red Springs, North Carolina, Frances was known as a caring southern lady who sought and cherished connections with others. She developed a love for music at a young age and began her college career as a Music Major at Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs. She graduated with Honors from Saint Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg with a Bachelor of Music Degree. Frances then began her teaching career in the Wake County Public School system that would span thirty-seven years in her position as Director of Choral Music at Millbrook High School in Raleigh. With an abiding commitment to the teaching profession and devotion to the Millbrook School Community, Frances spent her professional career nurturing young students as they discovered and developed their vocal talent and an appreciation of music.

She is remembered by her students with love and appreciation for her extraordinary skill as musician, teacher, counselor, and friend. As a testament to the influence this devoted teacher had on young lives in her classroom, many of her students chose to major in music education in college and are now in the classroom themselves bringing the gift of music to their students. Upon retiring from Millbrook High School in 1999 Frances shared, “There is no finer place that I could have taught, and I hope that I have instilled a love for music in my students and that they have learned how to express themselves in a more beautiful way.”

During summers over a span of fifteen years, and separate from her school responsibilities, Frances escorted high-school choral students from North Carolina and other states on nine concert tours in Europe as Director of the Greater Raleigh Youth Chorale. European audiences were captivated by the voices of these young Americans in performance venues ranging from majestic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to serene alpine churches nestled high in the Swiss Alps. Through these trips, Frances afforded young students an extraordinary opportunity to experience the excitement and educational benefits of international travel. Following retirement, she and her husband continued to travel abroad.

Frances and her husband are members of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. She was past president of the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh and member of many professional organizations, including North Carolina Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, and American Choral Directors Association. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Caswell-Nash Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Frances continued her love of choral music performance as a member of the Cardinal Singers, a volunteer women’s chorus sponsored by the City of Raleigh, with a mission to lift spirits, evoke happy memories, and celebrate life through music. She was a steadfast advocate for the arts in the public school system and a loyal supporter of the North Carolina Symphony.

Frances greatly enjoyed the cottage she and her husband built at Holden Beach in 1972 and spent many relaxing weeks there during summer breaks. The beach cottage was always filled with music, laughter, and conversation. She had cherished memories of the good times spent there with her husband and two sons, grandchildren, friends, and extended family.

Frances is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 56 years, William Grady Marley, Jr.; her son, William Grady Marley, III, and wife, Amy King Marley of Raleigh, North Carolina, her son, Greer Stephens Marley, and wife, Rebecca Dawn Marley of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; grandchildren, Savannah Stephens Marley, Jackson Greer Marley, Mary Carleton Marley, and Catherine Caldwell Marley; her sister, Rosalynde Gibson Cowdrey, and husband, David Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; nephew, William Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; and niece, Claire Cowdrey Ojeda, and husband, Orlando Ojeda of Riverdale, New York.

A visitation will be held on Monday, April 9, 2018 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh.

A celebration of Frances’s life will be held at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 10th at 10:00 am. A graveside service will follow at 3:30 pm at Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina.

Memorial donations may be made to the Frances G. Marley Scholarship Fund. Please make checks payable to MHS Choral Boosters and send to Millbrook High School 2201 Spring Forest Road Raleigh, North Carolina 27615.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.

  • FAMILY

  • Frances is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 56 years, William Grady Marley, Jr.; her son, William Grady Marley, III, and wife, Amy King Marley of Raleigh, North Carolina, her son, Greer Stephens Marley, and wife, Rebecca Dawn Marley of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; grandchildren, Savannah Stephens Marley, Jackson Greer Marley, Mary Carleton Marley, and Catherine Caldwell Marley; her sister, Rosalynde Gibson Cowdrey, and husband, David Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; nephew, William Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; and niece, Claire Cowdrey Ojeda, and husband, Orlando Ojeda of Riverdale, New York.
  • DONATIONS

  • Frances G. Marley Scholarship Fund. Please make checks payable to MHS Choral Boosters and send to Millbrook High School 2201 Spring Forest Road Raleigh, North Carolina 27615

Services

  • Visitation Monday, April 9, 2018
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, April 10, 2018
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, April 10, 2018
REMEMBERING

Frances Amelia Gibson Marley

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Melissa Skiver

April 24, 2018

I transferred to Millbrook as a very reluctant senior and had little interest in starting over again for just one year. Mrs. Marley's mixed chorus class was the highlight of my short day at school. I wanted badly to be in Ensemble (Madrigals?) but had to leave early to work. No matter - it was still a very fun year. I will never forget the joy of hearing "Fruitcake" for the first time. She was a dear, kind lady who inspired all in her classes. I went on to major in music in college and became a music teacher myself. When I moved back to Raleigh in 1989, what a wonderful surprise to find Mrs. Marley's ensemble singing at Mordecai House, the perennial Fruitcake! She remembered me, which I so appreciated, since our relationship was so brief. But that was just the kind of person she was. The quintessential lady. I am so very sorry for your loss. I pray you'll be sustained by all the good memories of the lives she influenced. God bless you all.

Melissa Kirby Skiver
Class of 1973

Sally Cook Nicholson

April 10, 2018

Mrs Marley shared her talent, her love of music and kindness with all of her students and their families over the years. I remember Mrs Marley warning my now husband and I that we needed to cool the “PDA” in Madrigals, but I could see the twinkle in her eyes and a hint of a smile on her face, watching two young people fall in love. Thirty-four years later, I was fondly introduced as a new member of the Daughters of the American Revolution by Mrs Marley, and that twinkle was still in her eyes.
Mrs Marley was the epitome of a Southern Lady - gracious and kind to all who had the good fortune to know and love her. Peace and grace to her family as you remember and celebrate the life of your beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt.

Betsy Watson

April 9, 2018

I loved Mrs. Marley and am truly grateful for her positive influence on my lifetime love of choral music and singing. She was so devoted to every student and to excellence for Millbrook's choral music department. I will never forget her walking up the drive to my house after my mother died in the summer of 1992, between my sophomore and junior years. She was so caring. That photo of her was taken during my years at Millbrook in the 90's, but she never changed! She smiled from the heart and I know she is smiling now from a better place. Much love to W.G. and the family. Sincerely, Betsy L. Watson, Millbrook Class of 1994

Kristen Thomas

April 9, 2018

Mrs. Marley was such a special lady! She shared a smile with everyone she saw. It's been 30 years since I graduated, but I still think of her from time to time. I'm happy to know she lived a long happy life. She touched so many of us as teenagers, and was such a positive influence on all of us! She will be truly missed! Love you, sweet lady!!!

Sonia Gregory

April 8, 2018

I had the pleasure of going on an International trip and being a student of Mrs. Marley. She was a special lady. I still remember our trip some 37 years later. She will truly be missed.

JOHN BARNES

April 8, 2018

ONE GREAT LADY====I'M SO GLAD I GOT TO KNOW HER ===JOHN BARNES

Christy Rich

April 6, 2018

She was one of my favorite teachers in high school and one of the few classes I couldn't wait to actually go to. She laughed, she taught, she shared with all and no one went unnoticed by her. We were all special in our own unique way to her and she let us each shine. I regret I couldn't go on the international trip she requested of me. I so badly wanted to. But her inspiring teaching sent me on a journey into a duet group and eventually solo at my church for many years. I still sing today and think of her, especially around Christmas when I see groups singing in Crabtree Valley. Good memories, good times, great mentor and friend. You are loved Mrs. Marley and will be greatly missed.

Steve Baldridge

April 6, 2018

She had a great impact on my life. All through school I loved glee club and later ensemble .She gave me Confidence in myself,and to understand that through singing ,your true spirt could emerge.Im 65 and to this day I can’t sing a song without picturing her smiling in front of me ,whispering “smile” . Thank you, your memory will always be with me !

Angela Parks Hatchell

April 6, 2018

I was in the band at MHS and so I had the privilege of sharing the same space in the music room with Mrs. Marley and while I was not in the Madrigals she made me feel welcome and always took the time to share a smile and kind word. Several years after I graduated a friend and I ran into her with her husband at a movie and they were so kind and friendly and invited us to sit with them. I will always remember her warmth and generosity. Mrs. Marley- Thanks for being such a wonderful teacher and special person.

Alan Porch

April 6, 2018

Mrs.Marley was one of the best high school memories I have. I was with her all four years. At the time I was the first freshman in Madrigals. She would let us eat lunch in her room every day and she always made sure I got to go on our competition trips. She would run us ragged around Christmas but those holidays and her Christmas parties really were some of the best times I had in High School. She was kind, and amazing. She helped me find my voice and she broadened my horizons. We called her “The Bun”. She made such an amazing impact on so many people and I’m glad to have known her and been taught by her. Long live The Bun! wherever she may be. I love you Mrs.Marley.

Biography

Frances Gibson Marley, 77, daughter of the late William Nathan Gibson, Jr. and Amelia Vardell Maxwell Gibson, went to be with the Lord surrounded by her loving family on April 4, 2018. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and educator, Frances touched and transformed countless lives. Born in Red Springs, North Carolina, Frances was known as a caring southern lady who sought and cherished connections with others. She developed a love for music at a young age and began her college career as a Music Major at Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs. She graduated with Honors from Saint Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg with a Bachelor of Music Degree. Frances then began her teaching career in the Wake County Public School system that would span thirty-seven years in her position as Director of Choral Music at Millbrook High School in Raleigh. With an abiding commitment to the teaching profession and devotion to the Millbrook School Community, Frances spent her professional career nurturing young students as they discovered and developed their vocal talent and an appreciation of music.

She is remembered by her students with love and appreciation for her extraordinary skill as musician, teacher, counselor, and friend. As a testament to the influence this devoted teacher had on young lives in her classroom, many of her students chose to major in music education in college and are now in the classroom themselves bringing the gift of music to their students. Upon retiring from Millbrook High School in 1999 Frances shared, “There is no finer place that I could have taught, and I hope that I have instilled a love for music in my students and that they have learned how to express themselves in a more beautiful way.”

During summers over a span of fifteen years, and separate from her school responsibilities, Frances escorted high-school choral students from North Carolina and other states on nine concert tours in Europe as Director of the Greater Raleigh Youth Chorale. European audiences were captivated by the voices of these young Americans in performance venues ranging from majestic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to serene alpine churches nestled high in the Swiss Alps. Through these trips, Frances afforded young students an extraordinary opportunity to experience the excitement and educational benefits of international travel. Following retirement, she and her husband continued to travel abroad.

Frances and her husband are members of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. She was past president of the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh and member of many professional organizations, including North Carolina Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, and American Choral Directors Association. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Caswell-Nash Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Frances continued her love of choral music performance as a member of the Cardinal Singers, a volunteer women’s chorus sponsored by the City of Raleigh, with a mission to lift spirits, evoke happy memories, and celebrate life through music. She was a steadfast advocate for the arts in the public school system and a loyal supporter of the North Carolina Symphony.

Frances greatly enjoyed the cottage she and her husband built at Holden Beach in 1972 and spent many relaxing weeks there during summer breaks. The beach cottage was always filled with music, laughter, and conversation. She had cherished memories of the good times spent there with her husband and two sons, grandchildren, friends, and extended family.

Frances is survived by her devoted and loving husband of 56 years, William Grady Marley, Jr.; her son, William Grady Marley, III, and wife, Amy King Marley of Raleigh, North Carolina, her son, Greer Stephens Marley, and wife, Rebecca Dawn Marley of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina; grandchildren, Savannah Stephens Marley, Jackson Greer Marley, Mary Carleton Marley, and Catherine Caldwell Marley; her sister, Rosalynde Gibson Cowdrey, and husband, David Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; nephew, William Arnold Cowdrey of Jacksonville, Florida; and niece, Claire Cowdrey Ojeda, and husband, Orlando Ojeda of Riverdale, New York.

A visitation will be held on Monday, April 9, 2018 from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary's Street, Raleigh.

A celebration of Frances’s life will be held at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church on Tuesday, April 10th at 10:00 am. A graveside service will follow at 3:30 pm at Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina.

Memorial donations may be made to the Frances G. Marley Scholarship Fund. Please make checks payable to MHS Choral Boosters and send to Millbrook High School 2201 Spring Forest Road Raleigh, North Carolina 27615.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.