She calls herself a crone, which always gets a wince, “I figure a woman has three stages of life: maiden, matron, crone. I lived through the first two and, I can tell you, it’s much more peaceful here in the third, the crone stage.” This tall, brown-eyed, seventy-something grandmother positively exudes wisdom and calm. She grew up along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul. After passing the state nursing boards, she worked at the school of nursing before landing a job as Pediatric Supervisor at County Hospital in St. Paul, where she met and married Dr. Dick Williams. Although that marriage ended in divorce, it produced three brilliant daughters, two of whom are doctors, one a lawyer. “I’ve always tried to live an open-ended life,” she says, which describes her to a T: First college, then nursing, then marriage, then teaching, then motherhood, then politics (served two terms on the Vista School Board, one on Coronado’s.)
She studied at the Methodist School of Theology and Pastoral Care at USD. She took a trip to Nicaragua to construct classroom in poor villages. “I learned to lay bricks and cement!” She has conducted ongoing grief support and divorce recovery groups for many years. She is Minister Emerita at Coronado Community Church where she remains active by performing private weddings, christenings, and memorials. In addition, she keeps busy with her duties as a Sharp Coronado Hospital chaplain. “I’m spiritual rather than religious,” she says, “and I’m very comfortable helping people deal with illness and end-of-life issues.”
In 1994, Marlys married Mitch Simmons, whom she met in one of her grief support groups after the death of his wife. They had some great adventures together until Mitch died in 2005. Marlys is a PEO, a proud member of Soroptimist International of Coronado, and, oh yes, an extraordinary legendary, crone.
“She opens her mouth with wisdom,and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26