Marion Waln Buchenroth died Sept. 27. She was 89. Her family provided the following.
Our beloved and dearest mother, Marion, passed away Sept. 27 following a stroke. By the grace of God she was able to spend her last days with her four children and two of her son-in-laws. She died peacefully holding Cindy’s hand. Her four children, Carol, Anne, Cindy and Buck, lovingly share this life story about our dear mother.
Marion was a Wyoming native whose fraternal family homesteaded on Horseshoe Creek near Glendo in 1881. She was born in Cheyenne in 1931 to parents Amy Marie Hobbs and Benjamin Harrison Waln. Her brother, Robert, came 13 months after Marion was born. Marion’s father passed away when Marion was just 3 years old. She was raised during the depression in Torrington and Lingle by three strong and powerful women: her mother, her Aunt Laura and her grandmother, Lulu Delong. These women instilled in Marion a strong sense of confidence, grace, spiritual faith, kindness and just a bit of spunk. Because her mother worked full time, Marion also learned to cook at a young age, and what a cook she was. Over the years she opened her kitchen and table to people from around the world.
Marion excelled scholastically. Her experience in her high school band and summer band camps fostered an early love for music and the arts. Marion grew up without a car in the family. As a result she took every opportunity to hit the open road. This sense of adventure led to a love of travel. Over the years she visited every continent save one, Antarctica. Upon high school graduation, Marion entered the University of Wyoming on a scholarship. While at university she continued to excel. She joined the Tri Delta sorority and served as president in her senior year. Looking through her photos it is clear that Marion was the belle of the ball. She enjoyed dances, having fun and coming home after curfew.
Marion graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1953, with a B.A. in political science and economics. Shortly thereafter she married Felix Buchenroth Jr., a local banker, and moved to Jackson Hole. Marion and Felix lived in a log cabin (which is still standing today across the street from Jackson Lumber) and she taught eighth grade social studies. She liked to talk about her homeroom class of that first year, and her efforts at making her students think she was older than she was. Life in Jackson in the early ’50s was an adventure. To familiarize herself with her new hometown she learned the names of everyone who lived in the unnumbered houses on unnamed streets. She found the ideal way to track someone down was to call the telephone operator. She figured out the best method to deal with the elk hair, mud, fresh water shrimp and other “crawlies” that came out of the tap in the springtime was to take a bubble bath.
In 1957 Marion and Felix moved to the Gill Addition and built one of the first homes in that subdivision. By 1962 they had four children. Marion immersed herself in raising her children and supporting their activities as a 4-H leader, Job’s Daughter Guardian, Girl’s State chairman and board member of the Van Vleck House. Never squeamish, she happily worked around muskrat and beaver hides hanging in the garage, pin feathers and BBs in ducks and geese. For over 60 years she was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where she taught Sunday school, was a lay reader, served on the altar guild, the Vestry and was senior warden.
Marion loved the incredible beauty of Jackson Hole, but believed the natural beauty could be augmented with music, art and history. While family was her No. 1 priority and concern, her impact to the Jackson Hole community could be viewed as her legacy.
She created a cultural council to support the arts. She was a past president of the Fine Arts Guild, which supported the creation of the Grand Teton Music Festival and the annual Fine Arts Festival. She was a founding board member of the National Museum of Wildlife Art and was named a lifetime board member for her service.
She served on the library board and raised money for a new reading room at the library, which at the time was charming log cabin. For nine years she served on the board of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and was board chair. Marion chaired the board of the Jackson Hole Historical Society, and was instrumental in raising funds for the new building. Marion was active with The Order of Eastern Star, American Legion Auxiliary, St John’s Hospital Auxiliary, and Jackson Hole Alliance.
Marion’s life wasn’t just about service, it was about connections. Never a better friend. Always there when you needed her. And she played a mean hand of bridge.
In the early 1980s Marion’s marriage ended but her commitment to the community flourished. As her children were grown, she devoted time exploring her own artistic nature. Moving from crafting, needlework and flower arranging she turned to oil painting. Her first entry in an art show was at a national one in 1990 where she won a blue ribbon. Her paintings may be found in many private collections. Marion also grew her financial literacy. When learning of an IRA, she decided to take a paying job to put her wages into retirement savings. She became an astute investor and read the Wall Street Journal daily.
As time marched on the Jackson winters began to wear on Marion. In 2015 she moved from Jackson to Boulder, Colorado, where she quickly made friends at her new community, Frasier Meadows. As much as she missed Jackson, she loved Colorado and the beautiful skyscape offered every day by the Rocky Mountains.
A life well lived, Marion is survived by her four children: Carol (Ramon) Tome, Anne (Steve) Ashley, Cynthia (Andrew) Martin, and Buck Buchenroth; six grandchildren: Ashley (Allison Rand) Tallmadge, Ben Tallmadge, Dylan Martin, Owen Martin, Clark Buchenroth and Wren Buchenroth. She is also survived by her brother Robert (Jackie) Waln and his children Elizabeth and Scott.
Due to COVID restrictions, services will be held at a later date. If desired, honorariums may be sent to St. John’s Episcopal Church, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole or Grand Teton Music Festival.
“Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”