BAGLEY, Wis. — Marjorie Ann Garthwaite, of Bagley, passed away at Great River Care Center on September 14, 2020.
She was born the first child of Jesse and Clara Mecum on September 11, 1927. An eternal optimist, she lived a long life with many accomplishments. The grass never grew too long under her feet.
She graduated valedictorian of her class at the Bagley School and pursued a rural teaching certificate, as teachers were greatly needed at this time. The following years, she spent teaching at the rural Glass Hollow School.
Next, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education at the University of Dubuque. Her first full time teaching contract was in Boyden, Iowa. Then, a contract came from Garnavillo, Iowa, where she could be found arriving by flat bottom boat from Bagley most Monday mornings. There she was greeted by a supportive community, who formed a forensics program. Several of her students received the top award at the state competition. At her father’s urging she applied and was accepted to teach English for the Department of Defense, Dependent Schools located on military bases overseas. Troop Transport ships were dispatched from Seattle to the rocky little atoll of Okinawa, Japan, which is where she found herself teaching and traveling before moving on to Baumholder, Germany. Traveling took on a passion and she spearheaded many treks throughout Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the Middle East during school breaks.
Upon returning to the United States, she matriculated to the University of Wisconsin Master’s Program for a degree in English Education. At this time, she also resumed teaching English at Platteville High School in Wisconsin. Here, she developed the philosophy that “I will teach to please myself and enjoy teaching.” Again, she developed a forensics program and produced several plays. The next teaching job came from Ashira Girls’ School located near Moshe at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa. Sadly, her time was made short due to her father’s passing and plans to return overseas never materialized.
Love eventually entered the narrative and she was married to Leland G. Quick on April 5, 1969. The teaching career was retired and a passion for farming was pursued. This was interrupted by the birth of a daughter, Michelle. The marriage was cut abruptly with the passing of Leland six years later.
She returned to Bagley, taught Sunday school and Bible study, until she married Lloyd O. Garthwaite on December 26, 1980. His small dairy farm in Mt. Hope was the perfect place to enjoy life while still working with the Methodist Church in town teaching a weekly bible study. This continued for twenty years until his death when life brought her back to Bagley. Again, she took up working at Zion Lutheran Church in Bagley teaching bible study and Sunday school.
Marjorie is preceded in death by her father and mother, Jesse and Clara (Rewey) Mecum; two husbands, Leland Quick and Lloyd Garthwaite, and her brother-in-law, Robert Barr.
She is survived by her daughter, Michelle (Quick) and Chris Newhouse; a grandson, Jackson Leland; a granddaughter, Estelle Ann; a sister, Barbara J. Barr, and the Barr children and grandchildren.
At Marjorie’s request, no funeral services are planned. A small graveside service will take place at a later date.
Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor, Iowa, is helping the family with the arrangements.