Marianna Kistler Beach
Please note change: The “program” for Mrs. Beach will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 16th at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan, KS, people will then go to the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art for the Celebration of Life.
Marianna Kistler Beach, 94, died at her home in Lawrence Kansas on November 1, 2014. She was born November 24, 1919 in Lincoln, Kansas to Elmer Levi and Myrtle Mae (Skinner) Kistler of Lincoln. The family moved to Manhattan, KS in 1934 in order for the children to have college educations in the lean years of the Great Depression. She graduated from Manhattan High School in 1937 and Kansas State University in 1941, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Phi Journalism Honorary and Mortar Board. She was instrumental on the student committee to obtain legislative approval to use student fees to enable construction of the Kansas State Student Union.
She was married to Ross Beach on June 1, 1941 and they were devoted to each other for 69 years until his death in 2010. Residents of Hays, Kansas for over 60 years, they finally moved full time to Lawrence in 2000.
A consummate traveler, Marianna wrote detailed journals of their safaris to Africa and India. She was deeply involved with the Kansas-Paraguay Partners and the Sister Cities Program, promoting cultural and technical exchange among the peoples of the United States and Latin America. Determined to never use a translator in her volunteer work in South America, she enrolled at the age of 65 in an summer immersion class in Spanish in Quito, Ecuador through Georgetown University.
An ardent supporter of the arts, Marianna was a member of the Mid America Arts Alliance, president of the Hays Arts Council, and wrote a column on art and city beautification for the Hays Daily News for over twenty years. She was instrumental in convincing her husband, in commemoration of their 50th anniversary, to establish the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art on the campus of Kansas State University to ensure art be available for all Kansans to enjoy.
With a lifelong devotion to the needs of individuals with special needs, she worked tirelessly in supporting efforts to maximize the potential of handicapped individuals, having served on the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation for two terms and as the U.S. representative to and president of the Inter-American Children’s Institute of the Organization of American States from 1982 – 1988. She was extremely active on the local level also. Because of her tireless efforts in this field, the Beach Center for Families and Disabilities at the University of Kansas was named in their honor.
Recognized by numerous organizations throughout her life, her most treasured awards were by Fort Hays State University with the Distinguished Service Award, Kansas State University with the Alumni Medallion Award, Kansas University with the Distinguished Service Citation, Topeka Daily Capital as a “Kansan of Distinction”, and People to People “Volunteer of the Year” award.
Beach also participated in her local community as a member of PEO, the First Presbyterian Church (Hays), Westside Presbyterian Church (Lawrence), Smoky Hills Public Television Board, Tennola and many other organizations. Personal pleasures were in having earned her private pilot’s license at age 45 and participating in weekly conversation groups in French and Spanish until recently.
Marianna was pre-deceased by her parents and her husband. She is survived by her three daughters: Mary (Gary) McDowell, Pt. Townsend, WA; Terry (R.A.) Edwards, Hutchinson, and Jane (Steve) Hipp, Jackson, WY. Also surviving is a brother, Lee Kistler of Evergreen, CO, and a sister, Janet Bush of Littleton, CO, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. Her ashes will be co-mingled with those of her husband and spread over their beloved State of Kansas, and their “adopted” country of Kenya.
Because Marianna and her husband took a special interest in supporting efforts to maximize the potential of special needs individuals, in addition to enhancing international cooperation, the family suggests memorials to the 4-H Foundation for the Rock Springs Wah-Shun-Gah Ranch for Kansas campers with unique needs, or to the Center for Life Experiences at the First Presbyterian Church in Hays, KS and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044. The family requests no flowers.
The program for Mrs. Beach will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 16th at the K-State Alumni Center in Manhattan, KS, then people will go to the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art for the Celebration of Life.