Services honoring the life of Marianne McElroy will be held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at the RiverCrest Chapel in Bixby. The family will receive visitors from 5-7:00 PM Monday, also at RiverCrest Chapel.
Born October 3, 1940, in Gumbsweiler, Germany, Marianne was the daughter of Jacob and Paulina (Ginkel) Cartarius. She was also welcomed by an elder sister, of four years, Ilsa. Sadly, the girls’ father would die in the war which left their mother to raise them by herself. This family, of three, would find themselves living in the Gasthaus or guest house above the village pub. In these days, it was not uncommon for children to have their own small beer steins and consume a wee bit of alcohol. As Marianne recounted, “It was better than the water."
Growing up during the war, Marianne witnessed more than her share of air raids. At the sound of the warning sirens, all would retreat to basements where they took cover. The girls were even among those involved in caring for a French Prisoner of War. This P.O.W. was kept in the barn with the animals and even received his food there. On one occasion, Marianne was out in the fields when the raid sirens sounded. The P.O.W. covered Marianne trying to keep her safe. From that time forward, he was then allowed to eat at the table.
One of the girls’ fondest childhood memories was receiving chewing gum as a gift from American soldiers. To hide this from their mother, the girls would place the gum underneath their bed. They would then work that gum over for the next few days until it just wouldn’t chew anymore.
Completing the tenth grade, Marianne would then begin working in a sewing factory. Enjoying an evening out, Marianne attended a masquerade where she met American soldier, Frank McElroy. At midnight, Frank removed Marianne’s mask and thus, uncovered the love of his life. Marianne’s mother tried to pay Frank off so that he wouldn’t take her daughter away. However, there was no amount of money that could keep the two apart. Being the honorable son-in-law that he was, Frank would take Marianne back home, almost annually, to see her family and to stay in touch with her roots.
Arriving in Bixby, Marianne was unable to speak much, if any, English. It was with the likes of Gunsmoke and other Westerns that Marianne began to learn the language. Eventually, she would take an English class and she was so proud when she gained her U.S. Citizenship.
With walking being her main source of mobility, in Germany, Marianne thought it ‘normal’ to walk infant daughter, Nancy, down Memorial Drive in a stroller. This caused quite a commotion with the locals as Marianne wondered why all these people were honking and what was the deal with all the motions?
A lover of soccer, Marianne posted an advertisement in the Bixby Bulletin. It read something like, “Women, are you looking to stay in shape and have a good time? Join us for women’s soccer.” This was the birth of the Bixby Wonder Women soccer team. Marianne loved soccer so much that she played the game, even into her seventies, and it was her wish to die out on the soccer field!
To say that Marianne was a busy body is a bit of an understatement. “Schnell, Schnell!” is what Marianne would yell when her children were playing soccer. This means “fast, fast”. That is how Marianne approached life. She was all in. Always on the go, Marianne owned her own house cleaning business and always kept her own home in immaculate condition. When she wasn’t at work on the inside, she could be found planting, weeding, or tending to her massive garden. She shared this hobby, with other friends, and it was always a joy to get a start or share the start of some small crop within that circle of friends.
Energized, funny, loving, silly, incredibly giving and extremely hard-working, are words that begin to describe Marianne. She loved her friends and she would do anything for her family. She loved getting together with her friends for their ‘pot-luck’ dinners, she loved listening to rock-n-roll, and she wasn’t afraid to mow the yard so she could get her reward afterward - an ice-cold beer.
The past few years have been difficult for Marianne and those that love her. There is no doubt that she will be missed daily, yet peace is found as she has overcome any additional difficulties or setbacks once faced.
Marianne passed from this life on Sunday, November 3, 2019, in Tulsa. She was 79.
She is survived by her daughter, Sonya McElroy; grandson, Lynn Sandlin and sister, Ilsa. She is also survived by numerous other family members and dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her daughters: Heidi and Nancy; and her husband, Frank.
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