July 21, 1934 – May 10, 2021(age 86)
Velma Marlene Childress passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on Monday, May 10, 2021 in University Place, WA. Affectionately known as Mama Mar, Miss Mar, and Miss Marlene. She was born July 21, 1934 as a brown eyed southern beauty in Lebanon, Tennessee. Marlene spent her teen years in Huntsville, Alabama where she graduated from Butler High School (Class of ’52) and soon met the love of her life and husband, William ‘Tinker’ Childress.
A hard worker, Marlene started out as a switchboard operator at Red Stone Arsenal, where her peers persuaded her to take on the title of Miss Southern Bell which she was so proud to share with those who hadn’t heard. Marriage, babies and life events moved her family westward, first spending time in Utah, then Texas, and back to Utah. Her and Tinker had four kids together. Her job at the county courthouse as a court clerk helped support her love for jewelry and the joy she felt attending antique auctions. She was a loyal member and Sunday school teacher at the Brigham City First Baptist Church.
In 1978, the Childress family ventured north to Alaska. Marlene continued her courthouse vocation and weathered the sub-zero temp winters and midnight sun summers. Following the death of her beloved Tinker in 1984, Marlene took her youngest and moved to Bellingham, WA where she started a new life, worked in the escrow business, and enjoyed traveling, fine dining, and an occasional local performance by the Jimmy Murphy Band where she would teach the young ones how to Duck Walk. Never losing her southern twang, Marlene lived the latter part of her life enjoying all that the PNW had to offer.
Marlene is survived by her sister, Patty Sue Lewis; her four children, Kenneth L Childress, William N Childress, Patrice Greguski, and Jennifer Childress-White; 10 grandchildren; and many adored great grandchildren.
As per Marlene’s wishes, her family will hold a memorial service graveside in Brigham City, Utah where she will be laid to rest beside her late husband Tinker.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Gillies Funeral Chapel.