Marion L. StatonMarch 19, 1935 ~ October 22, 2017 (age 82)
Marion Lee Staton, a longtime resident of Harlingen, died here Sunday, October 22, 2017, of a heart failure. He was 82.
Born in Combes on March 19, 1935, to Wilmer T. and Eula Lee Staton, Marion was quickly followed into the world by his twin brother Melvin. They and their elder sister, Rita, grew up in Combes, where Marion lived until his marriage to Sandra Lee Staudt in 1961.
Marion was known as a prankster around Combes during his childhood, with Melvin as his partner in mischief. Their mother often dressed them in matching clothes, even as teenagers, and their friends (and victims) referred to Marion as “one of the Staton Twins.” He attended Dishman Elementary and First Methodist Church in Combes, and worked at Producer’s Gin while still in school.
Marion graduated from Harlingen High School in 1954, worked at Baum’s Men’s Wear in downtown Harlingen, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in the Eighth Infantry for two years at a military base in Ulm, Germany, and spent his weekend leave traveling around Europe with Melvin and his other Army buddies, and writing letters home about their adventures.
After his military service, Marion joined the U.S. Post Office as a letter carrier. He delivered mail for 35 years all over Harlingen, and until his death remembered the addresses of people who lived on his mail routes, even if he did not still remember their names.
While working at the post office, Marion met Sandra, and they married on Sept. 1, 1961. They were married for 56 years, always side-by-side. Along the way, they raised two children, Tracy and Travis, among extended family in Primera and Combes. Family get-togethers with Marion and Sandra’s parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews were the backbone of their social life.
Marion always loved to travel, and he and Sandra enjoyed visiting Sandra’s family in Fredericksburg and taking their children on trips around Texas and in northern Mexico. Every year they went camping in the Texas Hill Country. He enjoyed long drives exploring the country wherever they went.
Marion was always active in his children’s schools and organizations. He coached Little League softball, and he served as an assistant Boy Scout troop leader, a 4-H leader in the Har-Tex 4-H Club, and PTA president at Stuart Place Elementary. He volunteered for band boosters, Project Graduation, and other organizations at Harlingen High School. In the broader community, he was active in the Kiwanis Club, and he volunteered at Valley Baptist Medical Center.
But Marion spent most of his volunteer time at church, first at the First Methodist Church in Combes, where he and Sandra were married, and then, after the Combes church closed, at First United Methodist in Harlingen. He sang tenor in the church choir for decades, led the singing for Sunday School, and was active in the church’s Men’s Club.
Wherever he went, Marion enjoyed talking to friends and acquaintances, and striking up conversations with strangers. He loved telling stories about his own life and about the history and people of Combes and Harlingen.
Marion retired from the postal service in 1992 and soon after joined Kreidler-Ashcraft Funeral Home. He worked there and then at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home until his full retirement. After Sandra retired from Boggus Motors, they explored New England and Canada, the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean.
He and Sandra moved to Marble Falls in 2003, where they lived until returning to the Rio Grande Valley in 2013. While in Marble Falls, Marion attended the First Methodist Church and volunteered at Seton Highland Lakes Hospital. He enjoyed fishing, particularly with his granddaughter Anjelica.
Upon returning to Harlingen, Marion and Sandra moved into Golden Palms. They were living at Retama Manor at the time of his death. They appreciate the care and assistance they received through Marion’s illness from the staff at Retama, their caregiver Rosa Delgado, and family members, especially Marion’s nieces and Sandra’s sister, Dari Gale Adams.
Marion was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Rita, and his younger brother Donald. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; his brother Melvin; his son, Travis; his daughter, Tracy, and her husband, John Carroll; a granddaughter, Anjelica Carroll; and two step-grandchildren, Fergus and Aine Carroll; along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation with the family will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home. A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Mont Meta Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, please give any memorial donations to First United Methodist Church, 321 E. Harrison, Harlingen; or the Marine Military Academy, 320 Iwo Jima Blvd, Harlingen.