Marilyn Jean Ablard

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Marilyn Jean (Stout) Ablard, 74, passed into the arms of her loving Savior at her home in Olathe, Kansas, on April 20, 2019. A visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Fri., April 26 in Garrett Chapel at College Church of the Nazarene, Olathe, Kansas, with funeral services at 11 a.m. A graveside service will follow at 4 p.m. at Hall Cemetery in Delphos, Kansas. To honor Marilyn’s passion for teaching, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to MidAmerica Nazarene University for the Marilyn Ablard Distinguished Student Teaching Scholarship Fund (c/o MNU, 2030 E. College Way, Olathe, KS 66062). Arrangements: Bruce Funeral Home, Spring Hill, KS (913) 592-2244. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com

Marilyn was born on Feb. 22, 1945, in Girard, Kansas, to Marshall and Thelma Stout. She joined older sister, Evelyn. After a few moves, the family settled in Iola, Kansas, where Marilyn met Charles Ablard, the love of her life, during her junior year at Iola High School. The year she graduated, they wed on July 14, 1963. Their first child, born in 1967, was premature and lived only a few hours. A year later, they had a daughter and by 1973, had welcomed a son and another daughter. Their home overflowed with love, laughter and friendships. The family moved often during Charles’ 22-year naval career, including stays in Brooklyn, New York; both Little Creek and Norfolk, Virginia; a brief move back to the farm in Delphos, Kansas; Del City, Oklahoma; New Orleans, Louisiana; Alameda, California; and Olathe, Kansas, with Marilyn sometimes staying behind to pack up the house when Charles had to report early.

Marilyn loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all of her being, having been raised in a strong Christian home and then later helping create one with Charles. After each move, the family quickly found a Nazarene church and attended every time the doors were open, always finding ways to be involved. In Virginia, Marilyn helped Charles bring neighborhood children to church on one of the church’s 13 red school busses. Across the years and miles, Marilyn taught Sunday school, sung in and directed the choir, played the piano for services, worked in bus ministry and was a greeter. At some of the churches, she helped transport the elderly and often awoke in the wee hours of Sunday to start a big meal to serve her bunch and the many friends she welcomed around the family table.

Marilyn knew how to love well and also was dearly loved by everyone who knew her – from the fifth grade students she taught at Spring Hill Middle School and Hilltop Elementary School in Spring Hill, Kansas, to the college students in her Sunday school class who called her Mom. She was so loved and admired by her teaching colleagues that they voted her the Teacher of the Year for Spring Hill School District in 1997. Despite an injury that same year that left her home bound and in constant pain, Marilyn continued to live a remarkable life of joy and encouragement to others. She visited daily with friends and family in her home, online and on the phone and prayed constantly for those she loved.
Marilyn was an excellent seamstress and loved to knit and cook. Her life revolved around her family. Although she took college classes for years and graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene College in 1987 with a degree in Elementary Education, she went to bed late and got up early to study so as not to take time from her family. She also drove a school bus before and after her classes. In 1990, Marilyn was in the first class to graduate with the Masters of Education degree from MidAmerica Nazarene College.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, an infant son, Charles Dean Ablard, an unborn great grandchild, and a brother-in-law, Donald Diehl, of Rose Hill, Kansas. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Charles; two daughters, Melinda (Dave) Smith and Michelle Ablard; a son, Michael Ablard; three granddaughters Carly (Nathanael) Burns, Ana and Mikhayla; two grandsons Benjamin Smith and D.J.; three great grandchildren Avery, Emmitt and Kinsley, all of Olathe; a sister, Evelyn Diehl of Rose Hill, Kansas; a cousin Leon Stout, of Dallas, Texas; and many dearly loved in-laws, nieces and nephews and cherished relatives and friends.