Marjorie Ellen Keasling, RN, died peacefully of natural causes December 14, 2020, at Lincoln Glen Manor, San Jose, CA. She was 94.
Marjorie, "Marge," was born June 15, 1926 in Mitchell, SD, the daughter of Sydney G. and Hazel Seitz Lawrence. She married James E. Keasling on June 14, 1953. Marge is survived by her three children: John Lawrence (Elaine) of Florida, Susan Elaine Roloff (Jeff) of California, and James Matthew (Araceli) of Ohio. She is also survived by three grandchildren: Dr. Carolyn Roloff Walker (Kyle) of Alaska, Dr. Jennifer Roloff of Switzerland, and Greyson Keasling of Ohio. She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; step mother Ruth Wilson Lawrence; two brothers: Sydney Gordon Lawrence, Jr. and William Brewster Lawrence and granddaughter, Laura Elizabeth Ellen Roloff.
Marge attended University High School in Normal, IL, and went on to complete her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University Normal, Illinois Wesleyan University, and Mennonite College of Nursing. She furthered her studies at the University of Chicago where she obtained her Master of Science in Nursing. It was there that she met her husband. After graduation they moved to San Francisco where Jim completed his medical school residency.
In 1959 Jim and Marge moved with their then two children to Tabriz, Iran, where they worked as Christian medical missionaries. The experience was to be life-defining for them; they learned to speak Azari Turkish, the local dialect, they adopted a lasting affinity for Persian culture and ethnic diversity and established steadfast convictions to supporting humanitarian service.
They returned to the U.S. in 1964 settling in Oakland, CA long enough for the adoption of their third child and the completion of Jim's surgical residency. They moved to Urbana, IL in 1968. Marge raised her family while periodically teaching nursing, supporting Jim in the establishment of his surgical practice and spending time closer to the rest of the Lawrence family. They relocated again to Monticello, IL with land enough that Marge could enjoy her great love of horses.
In 1989 Jim and Marge began a new adventure when Jim accepted a position as a commissioned officer in the Navy. Their stationing was at Great Lakes Naval Base near Chicago. They lived on the base and attended the local Methodist church while Jim rose to the senior officer rank of Commander and Chief of Surgery of the Naval Health Clinic. Jim retired in 1993 and they returned to Urbana, IL to be closer to their daughter Susan. While in Urbana, Marge spent many hours volunteering at The Empty Tomb, a non-profit Christian organization that helps those in need. She loved her church and church-family; she and Jim formed a Sunday School class at 1st Baptist Church of Champaign. Jim died in 2009. In 2011, Susan and Jeff moved to San Jose, CA, with Marge joining them shortly afterward.
Marge loved the company of animals and was able to keep her horses at her daughter's barn well into her 80's. She owned dogs and bred her dog Holly so she could enjoy the wonderment of puppies. Her other love was gardening which she shared with her two granddaughters.
Marge was a 12th generation descendant of William Brewster, an organizer and leader of the Pilgrims that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.
She dedicated her life to her faith and family. A memorial service will be held in Illinois Summer 2021.