Marie was born April 28, 1934, in the main bedroom of the "oldest brick house," in Bowling Green, as the third daughter (and sixth child) of Arnold and Ruth (Blair) Skelton.
The Skelton and Blairs have been long-time residents of North America, with Marie's great-great-great-great-great-grandparents hailing from Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
During World War II, while Marie's older brothers were away in the Pacific Theater, Marie and her older sister Elsie helped her father Arnold load mine props for the local coal mines.
Marie's first paying job came in 1950, when Stella Westra came to Bowling Green as the manager of the Citizens Telephone Company and hired Marie for $15 per month to care for Stella's granddaughter Mary Diane.
It was during that summer of 1950 that Stella introduced Marie to Mary Diane's older brother Willis Boyll.
When Stella moved back to the switchboard in Youngstown, Ind., she hired Marie as a switchboard operator.
By July 1951, Marie and Willis were a couple. Shortly thereafter, Willis joined the U.S. Air Force, leaving for Texas in January 1952, followed by further training in California, where Willis bought some wedding rings. At the end of a two-week leave (before Willis was stationed to Louisiana), Marie and Willis were married on June 19, 1952, in the Bowling Green Methodist Church.
During their 24-year Air Force career, Marie had to move their family 20 times. Even so, she kept artifacts (like infant hot water bottles) for each of her children, which amazed them when returned to the original owners. Marie and Willis remained in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, Ariz.) when they retired from the Air Force.
From a decision during high school to follow the Lord, Marie's faith in God's providence grew through the years. Marie's favorite Bible verse guided her life's work: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13).
Besides raising her children, she helped with neighbor kids, taught Sunday School and Women's Bible studies, cleaned model homes, served as vice president of a Radio Shack franchise and treasurer of the Estrella Association of the Southern Baptist Association. She was also a mentor for countless women.
Marie loved her family dearly, making quilts for each grandchild and great-grandchild. She enjoyed humming gospel songs, played a mean game of Scrabble, and reveled in the outdoors having a special fondness for hummingbirds.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Joseph, Paul and Edward Skelton, and sisters Esther Skelton, Elsie Mills and Ruthie Skelton.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 59 years Will, and her children Charles and wife Cynthia, Curtis and wife Gail, Terrence and wife Susan, Thomas, Willa and husband Michael, and Mary and husband Kevin, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and brothers Robert Skelton and wife Dorothy, Clay City, and James Skelton and wife Helen, Brazil, and sister Jane Dailey, Lehigh Acres, Fla.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Marie's name to First Country Baptist Church, 12844 W. Santa Fe Dr., Surprise, Ariz., 85378.