In Loving memory of
In His infinite wisdom and in accordance with His plan, our Heavenly Father mercifully called Marion home from labor to glory. Our beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, godmother, and friend completed her life’s journey on the afternoon of May 13th, 2021.
Marion Kiler (Redding), was born on September 21st, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York. She was one of four children born to the late Dorothy Oliphant. Marion recalled certain aspects of her childhood in Brooklyn fondly. Those memories included spending many days and nights with her cousins, friends, and her brother Luther.
Marion attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn before getting her G.E.D. after going blind from glaucoma at the age of 17. Marion’s blindness (she was not a fan of referring to it as a handicap because she did not see herself as handicapped) served as an obstacle, but she would not allow it to prevent her from pursuing her passion for education. As her daughter-in-law Mignon would later state, Marion lost her sight, but not her vision. In 1975 Marion earned her associate degree from what was then called New York City Community College. Three years later she earned her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. Both of these would be considered accomplishments for any woman of color in the 1970’s. That is especially true for a blind woman of color. For Marion though, it was insufficient. She later returned to school and earned her Master of Special Education degree from Hunter College in New York City in 1992.
Marion would later use that master’s degree to help others. She worked as an instructor helping those that recently went blind to adapt to their new circumstances. Prior to that Marion worked for over 26 years for the City of New York. She began her career there in 1980 as a case worker and promoted to other roles such as supervisor in charge of financial support for nursing homes. She retired in 2006 as Intake Supervisor for Medicaid.
It was in those days working for the city that Marion met many of her life-long friends. She enjoyed socializing, and never met a stranger. Marion welcomed people from all walks of life and varied backgrounds into her orbit. If you were her friend, then you were her family.
Marion had many passions, but the greatest of them revolved around music. Marion was an accomplished musician and many of her social gatherings included listening to or creating music. Marion had a melodic voice and enjoyed the opportunity to showcase it. Marion sang in musicals, performed at The Apollo Theatre in Harlem and as a member of the United Jazz Coalition. The culmination of her singing accomplishments was a performance before Queen Elizabeth, as a member of the Grammy award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
Marion was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy; stepfather, Herbert; brother, Luther; and sister, Linda. The wonderful memories of Marion’s life are cherished by her son, Barry (Mignon); brother, Clarence; grandchildren, Gabrielle and Justin; special friend, Violet; and a host of cousins, friends, family, and loved ones.
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