June 15, 1930 - April 20, 2020
Marilyn Yvonne Hansen Meyer
Marilyn was born on June 15, 1930, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and died April 20, 2020, in Dallas,
Texas, less than two months from celebrating her 90th birthday.
Throughout her life, ‘Lyn’s mission was to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, living her faith in
daily prayer and service to others.
‘Lyn grew up in Chicago and was devoted to her divorced, hardworking mother, Dorothy Riley,
who worked multiple jobs to support the two of them and save money for ‘Lyn’s college
education, which often meant placing ‘Lyn in the care of other families. The experience instilled
many skills in frugality she imposed on herself throughout her life. This discipline resulted in
enormous generosity to others: family, friends, church, and charity.
‘Lyn graduated cum laude from the University of Dubuque, where she studied home economics
and voice. She was the president of the Home Economics Society for the State of Iowa and
represented Iowa at their National Convention in Los Angeles. ‘Lyn excelled in classical singing
as a soprano and won a regional voice competition. As part of the University choir, she met her
future husband and father of their children, Duane Gilbert Meyer, with whom she shared 64
years of marriage.
‘Lyn and Duane were married in the Chapel at the University of Dubuque. After a brief
honeymoon that included working on their respective undergraduate theses, they moved to
Iowa City, where they both earned advanced degrees at the University of Iowa and started their
family. They subsequently moved to Springfield, MO, where ‘Lyn was a teacher, wife, and
mother, as Duane pursued his career as a history professor, then dean and finally president at
Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). As the wife of the
university president, ‘Lyn was an elegant and tireless first lady hosting many dinners and
banquets, leaving her personal touch in every endeavor and building strong friendships with
the faculty, staff, and students. They were especially fond of international students, often
hosting them at their home on holidays.
‘Lyn was an active volunteer and philanthropist. She was particularly passionate about helping
teenage girls who needed a home or shelter. To address this need, she co-founded the Regional
Girls’ Shelter in Springfield, MO, now a part of Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services. The
Soroptimist Club awarded ‘Lyn the “Women Helping Women” award for her work in this area.
She was an active member of First and Calvary Presbyterian Church and served in numerous
capacities including as a member of the session and Director of Education. She was also
instrumental in starting a group for young adults. ‘Lyn was a member of the Mayor’s
Commission on Human Rights that drafted and approved an ordinance prohibiting
discrimination in any facet of real estate transactions in Springfield. She also co-founded the
Springfield School Volunteers Program that focused on increasing reading skills for elementary
students in the public school system.
‘Lyn was a talented artist, writer, poet, and creative gardener. She illustrated the Heritage of
Missouri book authored by Duane, painted a mural of the university campus at the president’s
residence, designed and painted a ceramic backsplash of native Missouri flowers, and left a
legacy of handmade gifts for friends and family. ‘Lyn enjoyed writing her family history and
writing short stories too. She had a flair for poetry she used in correspondence or dinner toasts.
The priority of her garden included an abundance of flowers ‘Lyn cut for bouquets to deliver to
hospitalized friends and shut-ins, or for table arrangements at home and other gatherings. She
was diligent in corresponding with her friends and family, sending illustrated holiday letters,
“thank you” notes, and, most importantly, Christmas and birthday “hugs” decorated with a
beautiful hand-drawn butterfly or another subject. The family has fond memories of summer
trips across the United States, to Europe, and New Zealand, several of which ‘Lyn documented
in handmade scrapbooks.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband Duane Gilbert Meyer, her mother Dorothy
Susan Riley, nee Sophia Kazmerchak, and her son-in-law, John Clayton Crouch, Sr. Four children
survive her: Paul Meyer and his wife, Deborah, in Chappaqua, NY; Mark Meyer and his wife,
Judiann, in Dallas, TX; Jim Meyer and his wife, Louisa, in Dallas, TX; and Andrea Crouch in
Lookout Mountain, GA, in addition to nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
‘Lyn’s unconditional love and friendship will be missed. Plans for a memorial service are
pending. Memorial donations may be made to Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services,
Missouri Region, at https://giving.pchas.org/donate/.
To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.