Marian Chapman, 80, of Mountainburg passed away Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Alma. She was born Sept. 25, 1936, in Cassville, Mo., to the late Abel W. and Geraldine Clark. Marian grew up with an independent streak in the small towns of west Texas, where she ran away in the first minute of her first day in kindergarten, beating her mother home. She moved back to Crawford County, married Keith La Rue of Mountainburg, and they set up their home at the fledgling Los Alamos National Laboratory, where Keith was employed. There she had her daughter, Kimberly.

After divorcing, she became an accountant and paymaster at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. Marian loved the foods of the differing cultures there. She always had an organic garden, loved to cook, and have friends over to enjoy her homemade meals. She reveled in raising her daughter in a healthy, western lifestyle, riding and showing horses in Western Pleasure competition.

She moved to Mountainburg in the mid-70s. She then went back to school and became a licensed massage therapist, and in time became a very well-known massage therapy instructor. Marian was truly independent minded, always following her heart and her religion, to the point of standing out on Rogers Avenue with area nuns, holding up a homemade “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” sign just prior to the Iraq war. She had close friends of all political persuasions. She loved to work and be outside, and often entertained in her gorgeous gardens. In her waning years, she retired to the Midtown Apartments in Fort Smith, where she made many friends, before finally moving for a short stay at Alma Health and Rehabilitation.

Marian is survived by her daughter, Kimberly Baker and husband Fred Baker of Fort Smith; two sisters, Shirley Johnson of College Station, Texas, and Louise Castle of Midland, Texas; a granddaughter, Tasha Keeland of Alma; four great-grandchildren, Ashley, Brittany and Kyle Keeland and Sierra McCallay; and two great-great-grandchildren, Ethan and Iris Holthusen.

Memorial service will be 2 p.m. Monday at Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home Chapel. Officiating will be the Rev. Susan Gray, Marian’s former pastor at the Mountainburg Presbyterian Church. Cremation is under the direction of Edwards Van-Alma Funeral Home of Van Buren.

The family would especially like to thank all those who helped care for, and guide Marian’s care in her waning months. We want to thank Wendy Gaston, P.A., not only for her excellent care, but for being her friend and advocate over many years. For the guidance through the maze, we appreciate the people and aides with the Area Agency on Aging. And to the amazing doctors, nurses, and staff at Mercy Hospital, Peachtree Hospice, and Alma Heath and Rehabilitation who not only practiced their art well, but guided us emotionally and spiritually through these difficult times, words cannot express our gratitude. We also wish to thank all those who have shown support and friendship. You all are truly, deeply appreciated.

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