Surrounded by loving family and friends, H. W. (Wayne) Marrs, 89, departed this life peacefully on Wednesday, December 17, at Brandon Woods Retirement Community in Lawrence, KS.
The first of three children, Wayne was born July 6, 1925 to Hugh and Liddie Marrs of Joplin, MO. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1943, enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in October of that year. His seven years of service to our country included participation in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II (China, the Philippines and Japan) and participation in the Korean War, as well. He received an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Sargeant.
Beginning in 1947, Wayne enjoyed a remarkable career with Southwestern Bell/AT&T Longlines. Through skill, hard work and many transfers, he rose to the position of Central Office Chief in both Fairview and Dodge City, KS and Special Operations Manager in Kansas City, MO. Two highlights of his career were particularly meaningful to him. One was oversight of a top-priority underground facility with strategic military and governmental significance during the Cold War. The second was management of all communication lines and access during the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. Following his retirement in 1981, Wayne maintained active involvement in the AT&T Longlines Pioneers. He especially enjoyed his affiliation through the Pioneers with Special Olympics, where his most meaningful position was that of “hugger” as contestants crossed their finish lines.
In 1946, Wayne married his lifetime beloved – the late Jacquelyn Pauline Niel, also of Joplin. They enjoyed starting their 67-year-long married life together in Joplin and stayed there until 1959, when the first career transfer took them to Kansas City. They were also very active in Joplin’s Empire Baptist Church, where Wayne was Head Deacon and Training Union Superintendent.
Wayne and Jackie both developed an avid interest in golf, playing several times each week, participating in (and winning!) tournaments and sharing wonderful friendships made on the course. In his retirement, Wayne delighted in supervising the Youth Golf Program at Windbrook Country Club in Kansas City. He also became a skilled custom golf club maker. Wayne and Jackie particularly enjoyed dancing together at every opportunity, too, including slow-dancing to music from the radio in the living room after the supper.
They loved traveling – especially to see children and grandchildren – and relished their winters spent with warm weather, warm friends and cold drinks on the golf course in Del Rio, TX.
In death, Wayne rejoined his dear wife Jacquelyn (Jackie) Pauline Niel Marrs who preceded him in death in 2013. He is also preceded by his parents Hugh and Liddie Marrs, sister Marilee Marrs Howell and brother Albert Laverne Marrs. He leaves behind sons Stephen (Juda Parks) Marrs of Lawrence, KS and Richard (Linda Cunningham) Marrs of Centennial, CO; daughter Janet Marrs Laughead of Needham, MA; and Susan (Kevin) Marrs Snay of Olathe, KS. He also leaves 10 grandchildren and 6 1/2 great-grandchildren.
We will miss him dearly, longing for his funny jokes and frequent wisecracks, his tender talks and advice, his big warm hugs and – always – his unconditional love.
Visitation is from 9:00 – 10:00 AM, Monday, December 22, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS, with funeral following at 10:00 AM. Burial services will take place at 3:30 PM at Ozark Memorial Cemetary, Joplin, MO.