Marion Helen Parsons Becker Reish Ross

January 19, 1901 - August 21, 1991


Story by her daughter, Mary Alice Becker Sydall, and
daughter-in-law, Ruth Matilda Warren Becker.

(Written in August 2002)



After the divorce of Marion and Edward Becker, the family lived with grandma Parsons on Lafayette Street in Denver Colorado. Marion always claimed to have the gift of gab and this proved to be the case when she saw a for sale sign on a large home in North Denver. She told grandma about the house and of course grandma told her she would need more money than she had to purchase the house.

Marion contacted the owner and learned that he needed cash money right now. She then came up with a plan. Marion convinced the owner of the house that because it needed a lot of repairs and would be difficult to sell before the work was done, that if he would take out a mortgage on the property she would not only make the payments, but would clean the property up and make the necessary repairs. He would have the money he needed and she would have a home for herself and her children. The owner would have the security of a quit claim deed signed by Marion stipulating that if she was ever more than 3 days late with the payment she would be out of the house (property) and no questions asked. The owner agreed to Marion's terms and thus the scrub brush detail was formed.

Marion and the children all were given jobs to do such as sweeping and moping, washing windows and once the house was clean they traded their scrub brushes for paint brushes. She turned part of the upstairs into a comfortable apartment which helped her to meet the payments on the house and left adequate living space for the family. When Marion thought the time was right to sell she put the house on the market and made a profit of a thousand dollars in addition to having had no rent to pay while living in the house.

In 1941 she purchased 13 acres which had 2 small houses and various out buildings on it. Her third son David transferred from North Denver High School to Arvada High School and went into the Future Farmers of America program. Marion's two older boys had already joined the Army. A cow named Bell was the first animal David purchased with some of his earnings from working mornings and evenings on a dairy farm about a mile from the 13 acres. In January Bell delivered a calf who was named Garnet as that is the birth stone for the month of January. There were the 2 sows Lady and Susie and their litters of piglets, about 25 chickens and though there was not a great deal of money there were fresh vegetables from the garden, eggs and a chicken for dinner on Sunday. The rent from one of the little houses made the payments.

In 1943 when David was in his senior year of high school, military recruiters had come to the school and David had signed up to go into the Army Air Corps after graduation. He and Marion sold the live stock and sold the 13 acres and moved closer to town. Marion purchased a 5 acre plot with a basement house on it with the proceeds of the sale of the 13 acres. The second World War was at that time escalating and Marion went to work in a factory on an assembly line sewing parachutes.

Marion had always had great faith and after she began working she did not always have the time to run household en-ands, buy groceries and such. She started the practice of giving this responsibility to her 2 younger children. She did not want them to carry large sums of money to school and since neither one of the children could have a key and not loose it she would leave the door unlocked so the children could go into the house and what ever amount of money was left for paying bills or buying food was left in the bible directly over the Ten Commandments between the Old and New Testaments. Marion believed the house and the money was safe with this arrangement and would say, "If anyone should come into the house and take the money from its place over the commandment which says Thou Shalt Not Steal then they need it more than I do". No one who was not invited ever came into the house and no funds were ever lost.

By 1944 Marion who was always on the look-out for good deals on real estate had sold the 5 acres and moved her son and daughter into a small house on Tennyson Street. in North Denver and from there to what she referred to as another white elephant on North Federal Blvd. Once again she busied herself with cleaning and painting and cutting up the rooms in the large old house into 2 apartments and leaving space for a apartment for her small family.

In early 1945 two events of import occurred in Marion's life. Her youngest son joined the Merchant Marines and she was married to Orrel Reish. (March 15, 1945). Two more things happened in a very short time. Marion's third son David was reported missing in action which caused her much emotional pain. In June of 1945 David's son and Marion's first grandchild was born. The war ended in 1945 and soon thereafter each of Marion's two oldest sons returned home.

In about 1947 the marriage between Marion and Orrel Reish was in trouble and they separated. They had been living in Bond, Colorado and that summer Marion returned to Denver alone. She moved in with Grandma Parsons, but soon found a job taking care of a apartment house in exchange for a house keeping room with bath and kitchenette suitable for herself and her daughter who had been living with her father. Marion was always looking for houses and thinking about what she could do to a house that was run down and how she would profit from the sale of the house after cleaning and repairs were done while she lived rent free during the time it took to make the house marketable. This time she found the house in west Denver at 69 Lowell Blvd., the old Barnum area.

This house proved to be more of a challenge than the others had been because there was no room to cut up into apartments. It was a small house to begin with and had very small rooms, but Marion thought she could do something with it because there were four city lots which she hoped would have more value to a developer than the house when she was ready to sell. Marion's daughter was married in 1950. About two years later Marion sold her house and she then purchased a large home near Denver General Hospital. Grandma Parsons moved in with her and they rented sleeping rooms to young Mennonite men who were serving their military time working at Denver General Hospital. Marion found another house that had potential and she and grandma made yet another move.

In 1956 Marion met and married Tom Ross who later died of cancer in 1964. Grandma Parsons had gone to live with her son Donald and Marion moved in with her eldest son Robert after Tom's death.

Marion was a Licensed Practical Nurse and in 1970 after the death of one of her long term patients, she decided to move to Salt Lake City. There she was able to work on genealogy and seemed to be quite happy for about ten years. She was in a location that was close to the Family History Library and to the Temple so she could visit both frequently. The time came when due to health problems her activities became more of an effort than a joy. About 1980, Marion decided to come back to the Denver area where she would be closer to her family. By now Marion had 12 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.

Marion lived in Evergreen Colorado in subsidized housing and seemed to be happy there. In 1983 she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and told she would not live at the high altitude in Evergreen through the winter. She applied for housing in the Denver aria, but because she was already in subsidized housing her name was put at the bottom of wait lists. One of her granddaughters who lived on the western slope invited her to come visit for a weekend and see if she liked the locale as a new apartment building for seniors was not yet full.

Marion went back to Evergreen and made preparations to move to Rifle Colorado. She lived in a efficiency apartment for about a year. However she and the manager did not see eye to eye on everything. Marion wanted to have a kitten and was told it was not allowed so she began feeding the stray cats and this was not okay with the manager. She wanted to have a rose bush under her window and the manager said no. In 1985 her daughter moved to Silt Colorado. Marion convinced her second son and his wife to purchase a small mobile home and move it to Silt for her to live in. She moved in with two kittens and planted roses in the small yard which were the envy of all of her neighbors. She was known by all of her neighbors in Silt as The Rose Lady and many of the rose bushes in Silt are from starts she gave to those who enjoyed her rose garden. Marion spent her declining years teaching many folks in the Rifle Ward of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints how to do genealogy and find their dead. She valued her membership in the church and derived much comfort from her association with her brothers and sisters in the gospel .

Marion spent many hours writing stories about events that Grandma Parsons had experienced in her life time and told to Marion.

In 1985 her second son Gordon passed on and this was very difficult for Marion to cope with. Two of her sons were gone and she felt in the natural order of things that children should not die before their parents. Her youngest son, who had retired, moved to Colorado so that he could take care of her. Her oldest son Robert passed away in January 1989 and her youngest son Richard Dean passed on in November 1990.

Marion decided then that she to was ready to go on. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law for about ten months, but had disengaged from many of the activities that had brought her pleasure. On July 19, 1991 she fell and fractured her leg. She was in the Glen Valley Nursing Center for three weeks for rehabilitation, but she did not try to walk again. She began bleeding and was taken to Valley View Hospital where she refused to cooperate with the doctor who wanted to find out for sure what was causing the bleeding. She was given several units of blood and was in intensive care, but continued to bleed. Dr Tomaso asked her if he could do the test and assured her that he would not cause her any discomfort, but would give her morphine before and after and would not even move her from the bed she was in. Marion very politely told him that if she were sixty she would do it, but she was ninety. The doctor stepped away from her bed and told her family that there was nothing more to do and he would arrange to have her moved out of intensive care. A hurried family conference resulted in the decision to bring her home. Marion came home by ambulance on August 19, 1991 and passed on with her granddaughters, her daughter and son-in-law at her side on August 21, 1991

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