6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
Lois Marian Williams was born on March 14, 1927 in Anthony, Kansas to Alfred and Louise Sinclair Prophet. She was the first grandchild in the Sinclair family, and she was nicknamed “Tiny” by her beloved grandparents. Later a brother, Carl, and sister, Reba joined the family.
Marian was destined to live an adventurous life, as travelling was to feature prominently in her life. The Prophets moved frequently, due to her father’s job, and although they lived in many places Caldwell, KS was always the hometown they returned to.
As a young girl, Marian was a tomboy, and earned the nickname “Butch” from admiring peers for her softball playing abilities. In fact, her son Terry recalled that when he asked her to give him some pointers on playing the game, she put him through such rigorous training that he was discouraged that he would never play as well as his mother.
When Marian was a freshman in high school, she was at the Ritz Theater watching a movie when someone behind her kept tapping her shoulder. Annoyed, she flipped around to tell whoever it was off, and then was shocked to see it was a senior boy, Dave Williams, who then asked her for a date. As was typical of so many young romances of those times, World War II intervened, and Dave joined the US. Navy, while Marian lived the life of a typical teenager on the Home Front.
When Dave returned after the war, he immediately rekindled their romance, and on Feb. 23, 1946, he and Marian eloped—much to the disapproving (but short-lived) chagrin of her mother, who wanted her to go to college. The couple settled in Caldwell, where Dave was going to pursue farming as their family grew with the birth of Terry Nolan, Linda Jane, and Patti Kay in rapid succession. Sadly, “Janie” passed away at the age of 2 and was deeply mourned by her family. LuAnn joined the family shortly after, just before they were to embark on their first adventure.
Dave found work with a government agency to drill water wells, and was sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The entire family moved there in 1955. Marian took on the move with aplomb, creating a cozy home in a foreign country while also relishing learning about the vast differences in the culture of their surroundings. As a government employee, Dave and Marian were invited to many formal gatherings at the royal palaces and at the embassy. One day Marian was spotted by the Crown Prince of Ethiopia while she was driving by in her convertible, and he was smitten. Many more invitations to dinner at the palace ensued, until Dave became tired of being relegated to the far end of the table while Marian was always seated next to the prince.
The Suez Canal Crisis in 1956 ended their adventure in Africa, and as American refugees the kids and Marian, who was 7 months pregnant, were loaded on a plane with refugees from several European countries that nobody wanted to allow into their country. The plane was forced to make many stops before they were finally allowed to disembark under the guard of American embassy soldiers. Unfortunately, Dave was trapped in the Middle East for several months after that, but at last he was able to come home to Caldwell to his family and meet his newest daughter Mari Michelle.
For the next several years, the family moved to many different places, such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, Argentina, Mississippi, and Sweden. It was in Buenos Aires that Lisa Danielle, the last daughter, made her appearance (shocking her much older siblings—and her parents, too) Dave travelled to many other foreign lands during the years, and when possible the family went with him, but many times they stayed behind in Caldwell, which was their “home base”. In 1971 Dave quit his travelling job to return to Caldwell to farm, drill water wells, and run the Caldwell Sale Barn after his brother Glenn died in an accident.
Marian once again became a farmwife and ran the café at the sale barn. She also took time to raise pigs, help with the farming, and baby sit her growing herd of grandchildren. In 1978 she and her sister Reba opened a flower shop, which she owned for many years. She was the first woman to be the President of the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, and she and Dave were active in the Caldwell Historical Society, and Marian also served on the Caldwell High School Alumni Association for many years.
As busy as she was, she always took everything in stride. She sold her shop and continued to work for several years, forging a deep and lasting friendship with the new owner Lucinda Wood. She kept herself busy with her grandchildren—many of whom remember how she donned a single white glove and danced the Moonwalk to win an impromptu family talent show! Many mornings Marian could be found down on the banks of Bluff Creek, with her little dog Scruffy by her side, trying her luck at fishing. She and Dave enjoyed their retirement for several years on the farm, until Dave passed on January 17, 1998.
Marian then moved into town, and kept herself busy gardening, having coffee with her beloved coffee ladies, going to First Presbyterian Church, of which she was a lifelong member, and enjoying her kids and grandkids. She still loved the farm, and her visits there brought back wonderful memories. It became a Mother’s Day tradition to have a weenie roast in the pasture with the family down by Bluff Creek.
Marian stayed active for many years, until at last at the age of 90 she began to slow down. She moved into the Sunflower Cottage facility at the Sumner County Hospital in Caldwell where she lived for over a year. She and Albert Melichar became the best of buddies there. She then moved to Botkin Care and Rehab in Wellington, Ks this past February. She passed away on June 23, 2020, at the age of 93, having lived a long, adventurous life full of love, fun, friends, and family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Reba Ann, her husband Dave, their daughter Janie, and a grandson, Kyle Sprague. She is survived by her brother Carl (Kay) Prophet, children Terry (Jan) Williams, Patti Kay (Phil) Sprague, LuAnn (Alan) Jamison, Mari Michelle (Leo) Schiltz, Lisa Danielle (Kevin) Schmidt, 11 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, 4 great great grandchildren, and numerous other family and friends.
Graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 26, 2020 at the Caldwell City Cemetery.
Memorials may be left in Marian's name to the Caldwell Historical Society and sent in care of the mortuary.
Visitation will be held 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Wednesday and 8:00 a. to 8:00 pm Thursday.