Marian Ruth Hicks Garner, age 86, went peacefully to meet her lord and Savior in Cleveland, Tennessee, early on Friday morning, July 16, 2021 in loving care of her husband Eugene. Marian accepted her Lord’s highest call, and now has a new home where she is rejoicing her arrival with old friends and family she has not seen in a very long time.
Marian was born in Burdette, Ar. to Verna Tate Hicks and John Alvin Hicks on Sept. 29, 1934. She was the third of five children. During her childhood, her father and mother farmed and were active in the local community ministry with the Burdette Church of God. As a small child, she began her working life by picking cotton in her dad’s fields with her siblings.
At the tender age of 17, Marian met the love of her life, a traveling evangelist named Eugene Garner. They married on Sept. 26, 1952. Using Searcy, Ar. as a home base, they began their ministry together. They started their family and had three beautiful daughters; Angela Anderson, Tweela McLean and Wyvonna Hawkins
Marian embraced the life of a pastor’s wife, typing sermons, playing the piano for services, leading music programs and women’s programs, and keeping church books. During a long and difficult four year period of serious, life threatening illness for Eugene, Marian lovingly cared and nursed him back to full health.
Together, with Eugene, their love for the Lord took them to multiple venues in other states including Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee, in addition to Arkansas, preaching the word, touching lives for God and building churches. While Eugene pastored at North Cleveland Church of God, Marian worked at Lee University and was also the executive secretary with the Church of God Headquarters World Missions organization. While ministering in the Tampa area, Marian was the Executive Secretary for the vice president at the University of Tampa.
In several of their ministry locations, Marian also worked with the local law offices as a legal assistant. Though she was an excellent licensed cosmetologist/beautician, Marian never charged for her services. Her haircuts for the many, many heads she cut were her gift of love.
Later in her life of service, Marian worked as the supervisor of volunteers of Legacy Hospice. In this leadership role, she recruited, trained and led that group for hospice, helping that organization grow into a leading multi-state, quality of life organization servicing the needs of patients in six states.
Marian’s children called her “Super Women” because in addition to working full time, she cleaned her own home, made her daughters’ clothes, provided delicious and wonderfully cooked home meals, mowed the grass, harvested the garden filling multiple freezers each year, attended all church services and provided beautiful music via the piano, and for 60 years typed Eugene’s sermons. She was Eugene’s full partner in his lifetime of ministry. It appeared to her children that the only time Marian was known to sleep was in the car on the way to church services or meetings.
While she was the hardest working woman her family knew, she also knew how to have fun as well. She was playfully called the “Life of the Party” at Hicks family “Girls’ Weekends” each year. No family “Girls’ Weekend” would ever be complete without Marian’s famous “but don’t his suit fit good” joke. Marian could put a positive spin on any situation, and playfully laugh at herself.
While her family knew her as playful, Marian’s friends called her “Classy Lady” because of her sense of style and grace. Everyone was always welcome in her home, where they could always find a “Marian Meal” that was absolutely “out of this world” delicious. Marian knew how to serve others, and amazed all who knew her. She never complained, and she never quit serving. Instead, when troubled she always took her problems to the Lord in private.
Even as she passed through the stages of Alzheimer’s, Marian continued to maintain her gift of prayer. As other memories faded, Marian’s direct line to her Lord remained. In her prayers, Alzheimer’s took a back seat, and her Lord took the reins. The Lord knew Marian’s heart, and the eloquent words she prayed were His right up to the time He called her home.
After a deeply held love for God, they say a mark of a life well live is in the works and memories left behind with friends and loved ones. If true, Marian was an amazingly successful woman, leaving a full life legacy masterpiece of kindness and unconditional love. Her positive and Godly outlook on life has not only impacted her family, but her many friends and caregivers as well.
Marian was an incredibly loving mother to her daughters and grandmother to her grandchildren, and for 68 years, a loyal and faithful companion to her husband, Eugene. Her pure sweetness and gentleness will sorely be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her.
The Garner Family would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the staff and caregivers of Avail Senior Living, and Hearth Hospice for the love and care you shared with us. Marian loved each of you, and so do we.
Marian was preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Angela Anderson; granddaughter, Anissa Marie Curry; and sister, Opal Parnell.
Marian is survived by her husband, Dr. Eugene C. Garner; daughters, Tweela Shea McLean (Don) and Wyvonna Jean Hawkins; grandchildren, Austin Anderson, Dustin Hixson (Tracy), Neely McLean Ledford (Brad), Shade Marian Gibson McLean, Tiffanie Jean Cryer (Justin); great-grandchildren, Malachai Curry, Austin Hixson, Paige Hixson, Bryce Hixson, Cori Ledford, Brooks Ledford; three great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Bonnie Hardin, and Nettie Jones, and brother Jim Hicks. She also leaves to cherish her memory her “adopted” children, Allan Hawkins, Randy and Betty Fox and Larry Godfrey.
A celebration of her life will be conducted at 7 p.m. on Monday, July, 19, at Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory. As she wished, Marian will be laid to rest with other Garner family members in a graveside service at Highland Cemetery, in Highland, Ar. on Saturday, July 24, at 11 a.m. All friends and family are welcome.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, July 19, prior to the service at the funeral home.
We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Garner Family guestbook at www.ralphbuckner.com.