Erna Mae Yeagley

Erna Mae Yeagley, 94, passed away peacefully on July 20, 2013. She was born May 24, 1919, in Satanta, Kan.

She is predeceased by her parents, Ray and Mary (Wolf) Swink and her sisters, Pauline and Ragene. She graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936 and married her classmate, Harold Priddle.

She is survived by one sister, Elizabeth Stephens of Wichita; and three children, Janet Bryant of Marion, Laurence Priddle and wife, Donna, of Smithville, Mo., and Susan Yeagley Sullivan and husband, Ron, of Tucson, Ariz.

Also surviving are seven grandchildren, Stephen Bryant of Peabody; Ann Carr and Jan Helmer of Marion; Doug Priddle of Kansas City, Mo.; Darrel Priddle of Nixa, Mo.; Traci Klasing Williams of Memphis, Tenn.; and Rebecca McGranahan of Long Beach, Calif.; as well as 11 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.

Erna Mae came to the Marion area in the late 1940s when she worked for and then married James E. Yeagley. They bought a farm northwest of Marion in 1952 after the devastating flood in the Marion valley inundated their west-side house with water and mud. She managed the farm and the Marion Rendering Company with Jim until his death in 1968, after which she was helped by her son-in-law, Ray Bryant, and then proceeded to have other adventures, always returning to her home in Marion.

She will be remembered for the care of her family and dedication to community service. She served in the Christian Service Corps at a home for the mentally disabled in Pennsylvania after discovering that the Peace Corps was not for those who wished to express their Christian beliefs.

She volunteered her time to the Marion Food Bank, the Valley United Methodist Church, and numerous civic organizations. She donated approximately 240 pints (30 gallons) of blood and read the Bible from cover to cover every year for at least 20 years.

She will also be remembered for her stylish dressing — the matching hat, gloves, purse, high heels and, of course, jewelry. Many in Marion were thankful for her sewing skills as she altered their garments and sewed new gowns, suits, and other apparel.

Her first airplane trip, after the Peace Corps, was to visit the Holy Land, and then she traveled the world, visiting all 50 states, most of the Canadian provinces, and all the continents except Antarctica.

Erna Mae gifted her body to research at University of Kansas Medical Center. A memorial fund has been established at Valley United Methodist Church, 300 Santa Fe St., Marion, where she was a member for 56 years. The family plans a celebration of life service at a later date.

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