April 27, 1943 – March 3, 2019
Kenneth Andrew Marion, April 27, 1943 – March 3, 2019, was a country boy. But that didn’t stop him from traveling to Egypt, Africa, Europe, Turkey, Greece and other interesting places around the world. His love of history and geography guided him on his earthly journey. His belief in the simple life and commitment to family brought him home. Born in Kingsport, Tenn., to Dale Loudy Marion and Ida Dale Tate Marion, he was raised in Blountville, Tenn., where he graduated from high school in 1961 as an honors student and basketball star. Ken had a lifelong commitment to education and learning. He attended college at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., receiving a BA in Psychology in 1965. He obtained an MA in History in 1970 from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., and at East Tennessee State University where he pursued an MA in Geography.
Ken joined the still newly-minted Peace Corps and was assigned to Turkey where he taught English from 1965 to 1967; this seminal experience was the start of Ken’s enduring love of Middle Eastern and Turkish history and geography. While he went out to meet the world, Ken, along with his wife, Janese, welcomed the world into their home, hosting many high school exchange students.
Ken cherished the ridges and valleys of ETN/SWVA. An amature naturalist, he established Wortroot Land Trust in 1974 to conserve part of the forests and watershed feeding Reedy Creek and thus the Holston River. His conservation efforts also included serving on the board of Steele Creek Park, as well as fundraising for the park’s nature center, and developing the park’s maps.
Like his grandfather, uncle, and brother, Ken worked as a mail carrier and delivered mail on rural routes for many years. In his retirement, Ken enjoyed gardening, birdwatching and traveling. Already in possession of an incredible green thumb, Ken became a Master Gardener. He took great pleasure in raising ripe tomatoes (ripe by July 4) and gorgeous flower beds. Ken’s home was always open to visitors, who were sure to be met with warmth, and stimulating conversation. Inevitably, Ken would ask about your home or travels and would pull out a map to pore over with you, while the coffee pot bubbled in the background and music floated in the air.
Ken is survived by his brother, Tony Marion of Blountville; and sister, Becky Marion Forbes, of Richmond, Georgia, and their families. Still recovering from the sudden loss of this gentle family man are his wife, Janese, and their children, Roan, Parks and Minta, and their families. He leaves a wide circle of friends mourning the passing of a vibrant and luminous soul. He died suddenly while visiting his son’s family in New Mexico.
Old friends and new are welcomed to join the family for a Celebration of Life gathering to be held at 1155 Akard Lane, Bristol, VA 24202. Call 423-956-0559 if needed. See website photo album https://twirlingpiegirl.wixsite.com/ken-marion.
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