Marion Brown Lake
Feb. 27, 1917 ~ Nov. 9, 2011
Francis Marion Brown was born Feb. 27, 1917, in Meeker, Colo., to Walter Marion Brown and Mary Ruth Davis Brown. Fondly called “Dump” by her dad and “Doll” by her older sister Jane, she spent her younger childhood on Flag Creek, in Craig, Colo., and in Rangely, Colo. The summer before she entered the fourth grade the family moved to California where her dad was employed by The Associated Company. The next four years her mother saved every other paycheck to have a down payment on a ranch in Powell Park. When it came time to move back to Meeker, Marion, her older sister Jane and younger brother Bill stayed in California with their grandparents, C.F. and Rose Brown, who owned the local dancehall and grocery store in Miners Oak, Calif. Marion earned her keep by sweeping out the dancehall and taking tickets. She attended school in Ventura, Calif., graduating in 1936 from Ventura Union High School. That fall Marion entered the St. Joseph’s/St. Mary’s three-year nursing program, graduating in 1939 and earning her registered nurse license with the second highest score in the state. Within the year, Marion moved back to California to pursue her profession at Foster Park Hospital. She also worked on the weekends at the dancehall where she met her future husband, Harold Dee Lake, known by friends and family as Dee or H.D. He proposed the day of Pearl Harbor and they were married in Santa Barbara, Calif., on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 1941. They moved to Ojai, Calif., and raised hundreds of turkeys, along with pigs, and a fruit orchard. Between 1943 and 1947 three children were born: William Marion (Bill), Robert Paul (Bob), and Teresa Dee. Wanting to move to Colorado, they purchased the Mannel Farm in 1947, located in Powell Park. For the next five years Marion kept the turkey farm running while Dee spent 6-8 months a year at the farm in Colorado. In the spring of 1952 Barbara Jane was born and by summer the entire family moved to Colorado. Fifty-nine years later she was still living on the farm in Powell Park.
In 1954 Marion began a nursing career in Meeker which spanned 29 years, working at Pioneers Hospital and the Walbridge Wing, in the offices of Dr. Stuart Smith and Dr. David Eskelson. Marion had three specialties: babies, surgery and specialized nursing. She had the privilege to help deliver many babies and eight of her grandchildren. She was the hospital’s surgical nurse, assisting every Thursday morning for years. Many of the elderly in the community or those with special needs could rely on her to give them their weekly shots, to assist with the terminally ill or to just sit with them.
Marion was involved in the farm which later became a farm/ranch. For years she would stop by to check the cows during calving season after finishing her hospital shift at 11 p.m. She loved her Simmental cattle and her horse named “Paint.” Marion loved being outdoors working with the cattle, riding on the combine at harvest time, gardening, canning and baking bread. She hosted many of the family dinners with never less than 25 people. She spent hours sewing dresses, knitting, and crocheting until her hands became so crippled with arthritis that she was unable to hold the needles. Marion taught Sunday School at the Meeker Bible Church for years and hauled all the nieces and nephews to vacation bible school every summer. She was a member of the White Powell Extension Homemaker Club and a room mother for her children.
Her husband Dee passed away Oct. 30, 1985. She married Leon Culbertson, a widowed family friend from California Nov. 26, 1986. Marion had an enjoyable relationship with Leon’s son Ken and wife Thelma and daughter Karen and husband Terry and their families. Marion and Leon spent the next 21 years roaming the ranch, spending time in California and enjoying life until his death in 2007. After his death Marion spent her time enjoying visits from family and friends and until last year would drive her trekker to get the mail. Two of her biggest enjoyments were having someone take her “for a ride” and having visits from grandchildren.
Marion was a wife, mom, grammie, great-grammie, friend and neighbor. Her life was full and she will be missed by those of us on earth but welcomed into the arms of her loved ones in Heaven.
She is survived by her brother, Charles Edwin Brown of Meeker; four children, Bill Lake (Phyllis) of Meeker, Bob Lake (Nareen) of Guymon, Okla., Teresa Anderson (Gus) of Meeker, and Barbara Sullivan (Mike) of Meeker; 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents Walter and Mary, sisters Jane Holte and Rosemary Dickey, brothers Bill Brown and Jim Brown.
Marion Lake passed away peacefully in Craig, Colo., at The Memorial Hospital. Funeral services were held at the Church at Meeker on Nov. 15 with internment at the Highland Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Wycliffe Bible Translators, c/o Teresa Anderson, P.O. Box 474, Meeker, Colo., 81641.