June 25, 1935 – January 26, 2021

Marilyn Marshall Kirkman, age 85, died on January 26, 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Marilyn was born June 25, 1935 to Helen and Nolan Marshall in Gillette, Wyoming.

She is survived by her siblings Sandra Olsson, Linda (Robbins) and Patrick Marshall.

After traveling the west, the family settled in Sheridan, Wyoming where she graduated from Holy Name High School in 1953 and received a degree in education from the University of Wyoming in 1957 where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi. Marilyn taught elementary school in Gillette, Wyoming. Marilyn was Wyoming tough, and sought adventure, taking a teaching job at Bentwaters Air Force Base in Ipswich, England in 1960. She travelled extensively throughout Europe, Israel and Egypt, including riding a camel, before meeting and taming our father, William H. Kirkman, Jr. who was serving in the Judge Advocate General Corps on the Air Force Base. They soon married at a small stone church on a cold day in February. They relocated to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where they made their life-long home. Marilyn and Bill were married for 58 years at the time of William’s death in February of 2020. Together they loved to travel, dance, discuss world affairs and host large family gatherings with laughter and love.

Marilyn is survived by her 4 children and spouses: Kathryn (Brent) Ohman, Elizabeth (Greg) Werner, Jennifer (Courtney) Heinicke, and Andrew (Angela) Kirkman.

As a parent, our mother was always the level-headed, critical-thinking voice of reason to our father’s spontaneity, the brake to his gas pedal, and the organization in the midst of large family chaos. While raising her family, Marilyn was an ardent supporter of education, actively participated in the El Paso County Bar Wives Association, and pursued her self-taught passion for art. Marilyn was selected to join Arati Art Gallery in Old Colorado City in 1978 where she displayed her oil landscapes and as her art evolved, her beautifully detailed watercolors. She has been featured in many juried local art shows and magazines, and her work is in included in numerous personal and commercial collections including the Broadmoor.

In 1995 Marilyn lost her vision to macular degeneration. This heartbreak did not quell her creative spirit and determination. Marilyn courageously experimented with her art, developing her own technique she dubbed silk relief. A joyful abstract yellow silk relief sunflower soon became her trademark, the texture & bright colors helping her to literally see her work, but also to allow her artistic vision to evolve & blossom.

Always a teacher at heart, she loved to demonstrate her artwork, and especially loved teaching and playing with her 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren who lovingly called her Mimi. Marilyn’s greatest legacy and achievement has been her unwavering dedication to her family. She inspired all with her perseverance in a low vision world, and her strong faith in God and adventurous spirit remind us to find courage no matter the challenge. She is dearly missed. We still see her through the natural images of her art: the windswept landscapes of her Wyoming youth; the red rock formations of Garden of the Gods; the snow caps on Pikes Peak; the light in a narrow wooded path and in the petals of a flower. “Life is eternal, love is immortal, death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” (R. Raymond). We are grateful for her love, guidance and an extra helping of feist.  By her example, we know resilience and know we can handle whatever this way comes. We all miss her fantastic chocolate cake. We will meet again just over the horizon. Love you Mom (Mimi).

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 400 S. Colorado Blvd., Ste 840, Denver, CO 80246 or to Pikes Peak Hospice 2550 Tenderfoot Hill St., Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Services will be held on June 18, 2021 with details to be announced at a later date.

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