Marian Theresa (Elgin) Aitken was born on Jan. 30, 1922, in Houston, Texas, to Marian Elise Jenkins and Alfred Rice Elgin. Full of life and verve through her final years, she passed away in peace, at the age of 97, on June 27, 2019, in Kerrville, Texas.
Marian, Mom, Sister, Gramma and friend: as the matriarch of the family, she will continue to be treasured and esteemed by so many.
A fifth-generation Texan, her great-grandfather, Charles Conrad Gehring, immigrated from Detmold, Germany, (then Prussia) to Galveston in 1859, and her great-grandmother, Augusta Hoffman, immigrated to Houston from Prussia in 1867.
A student at San Jacinto High School in Houston and a 1939 graduate of Hollywood High in Hollywood, Marian attended Houston Business College, where she gained the secretarial and business skills that launched her lifelong career as stenographer, secretary and “Girl Friday.” She was married on Dec. 1, 1947, in Houston to Donald Aitken of Michigan, her husband of 41 years. Together, they were loving parents to their three children, Chris, Donna and Carol, and their niece, Tara. Their welcoming Bellaire, Texas, home created memories of park swings, swim parties, outdoor grilling and lots of summer antics. The numerous annual Christmas parties that brought together more than 50 relatives for food, fun, photo-album perusing and laughter will not be forgotten.
Like many young housewives in the ’50s, Marian worked part time when her children were young and began full-time work thereafter, finally retiring at age 70. Her hobbies included tennis and ping-pong, which she played into her 80s, competing and gold-medaling in the local Senior Olympics, long and regular walks, reading, gardening and playing cards and enjoying a good martini! During her 70s and 80s, Marian enjoyed travel throughout the United States and Canada, venturing to San Diego, Washington, D.C., Colorado, the Carolinas, the Midwest and West Coast, with Vernon Doll, her companion of 18 years.
Later in life, Marian took up the pen, writing essays and journaling regularly. She was particularly proud of the many opinion pieces, poems and essays that were included in both the San Jacinto High School Campus Club and The Kerrville Daily Times. Fulfilling a lifelong dream to be a writer or a journalist, she regaled many with family stories and strong opinions and self-published notebooks of Musings. At the age of 95, with the help of Phil Houseal, she published a book called “As The Spirit Moves Me.”
Marian has always been a thoughtful mentor and voice of reason for all of her family and friends. They will cherish the memory of her graciousness and generosity, along with her wry sense of humor.
Beloved mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, Marian was preceded in death by her four sisters, Dr. Betty Lee Elgin, Sally Ann Patterson, Dawn Elgin and Lillian Elgin; and one brother, Alfred “Brother” Elgin; by her husband, Donald Aitken; and cherished daughter, Donna Aitken. Also, by her special friend, Vernon Doll; and her “soul mate,” Mickey McGinnis.
Marian is survived by her children and their spouses, Chris and Mary Aitken of The Woodlands, Texas, and Carol and Joe Triola of Kerrville; grandchildren and their spouses, Jessica Triola, Nick and Carly Triola, Joseph and Sarah Triola, Zachary Aitken, Connor and Amanda Aitken and Alexandra and Tate Burleson; and great-grandchildren, twins Belia and Enzo Gomez and Sloane Burleson. Nieces and nephews include John Watson, Bonnie Lee Kalar, Suzanne Flake, David Watson, Greg Kabay, Conrad Kabay, Edward Patterson, Tara Elgin Holley, as well as many other grand-nieces and nephews.
Marian was a gift and a model for us all. She will be deeply missed.
A memorial service will be held at a later date, after her “stardust” returns from the University of Texas Medical School, where she donated her body. Even in death, Marian makes a difference.
Finally, gratitude goes to Peterson Hospice for their loving care, as well as the wonderful and dedicated staff at Brookdale, who made Marian’s life fun and fulfilling when she moved there into independent living eight years ago, and safe and loving for the last two months of her life in skilled nursing. They were all a blessing to her.