Marion Lightfoot passed away Sept. 10, 2016, at his daughter’s home in Arkansas City following a battle with kidney disease. Marion was born March 31, 1931, in Hartford, Ohio, to Beulah Lightfoot and was raised by his maternal grandparents, Edgar and Mary Lightfoot, on a farm near LaRue, Ohio. He graduated from high school in a class of 13 and attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where he played varsity football, joined the Air Force ROTC program and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He completed fighter pilot training at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and flew F-86 Sabre jets while stationed in Formosa (Taiwan) and Okinawa. There he met and married Elizabeth Wagner. They raised three children together prior to divorcing in 1981.
After leaving the Air Force, Marion returned to Ohio and began a career in manufacturing management that included stops in Mentor, Ohio, Lafayette, Ind., Lebanon, Tenn., Houston, Texas, Tulsa, Okla, Larned, and Columbus, Ohio. In 1983 he married Patricia Chiater McGinnis and relocated to Fairmont, W.Va. and then Buffalo, N.Y. In 1989, the couple moved to Great Bend, where Marion served as the president of Great Bend Industries until his retirement in 1999.
Marion possessed a great passion for public service. Throughout his life he supported and served on a wide variety of civic organizations, including the Barton County Planning Commission, Jenks (Okla.) City Council, SCORE small business mentoring program, Rotary, and countless business and community groups and volunteer programs. Two of his favorite volunteer experiences were guiding the construction of the B-29 Memorial at the Great Bend Municipal Airport and helping bring the USAF Thunderbirds to the air show in Great Bend in the early 1990’s. In his spare time, he spent nearly four decades umpiring baseball, refereeing football and officiating basketball games. As he transitioned to retirement, he shifted his interest to photography and his frame shop.
Marion was hard-working, focused and goal-oriented. He was direct, sometimes unfiltered and had a great sense of humor. Later in life, when asked why he was so driven, he explained that being raised by his grandparents and never knowing his father, he always felt he had to work harder to prove himself and leave his mark on the world. He truly made a difference in his life’s work.
Marion was preceded in death by his wife, Pat, in 2012. He is survived by his children, Lisa Vetter of Arkansas City, Keith Lightfoot of Fort Collins, Colo., and Marya Bosley of Augusta; his step-children, Harry “Kip” McGinnis of Rivesville, W.Va., Tamara McGinnis of Paris, France, and Jeff McGinnis of Baxter, W.Va.; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at Bryant Funeral Home in Great Bend, with the Rev. William F. Johnson officiating. Private family inurnment will be in Great Bend Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Barton County Historical Society, in care of Bryant Funeral Home.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Bryant Funeral Home**
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, KS 67530
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Sept. 14, 2016