Marilyn Frances (Weber) Crider was born October 2, 1929 in Lafayette, Indiana to William & Louise (Yeakel) Weber. She was the fourth of five children. Marilyn graduated in 1947 from Jefferson High School. She was employed at Purdue University during her senior year in high school. After graduating, she was employed for the Boy Scouts of America as well as for the Retail Clerks Union.
Marilyn met John R. Crider and they were married January 15, 1950. John and Marilyn lived in Chicago until John finished Chiropractic College. Daughter, Karen was born in Chicago but soon after they moved to John’s home town of Hagerstown, Maryland and sons; John, Mike, and Kyle were all born in Hagerstown.
Young “Doc” Crider spent a couple of summers employed by the National Park Service in Glacier National Park as a back country horseman packing food, water, and supplies into Lookout and Fire Crews. Somewhere around 1956 John pronounced that he would like to go back out to Montana and work at Glacier for another summer. At that point in time, The Criders were only in their twenties with four little kids under five. John loaded Marilyn and the children in the Buick station wagon and drove from Maryland to Montana to live in a dilapidated cabin at Apgar Village near Lake MacDonald for the summer. The cabin had no amenities. An outhouse graced the back yard. When it rained, every pot, pan, bowl, or coffee can was used to catch water leaks in the roof. Well, I can only imagine my mother was horrified. Dad would have to be at work at 5 a.m. so they would wrap kids in blankets and put us in the car for the early morning trip to the trailhead.
One sunny afternoon Dad and all four kids were in the cabin napping, Mom was out behind the cabin sunbathing on a cot. Suddenly, we were awakened by a blood curdling scream. Dad jumped up and ran for the back door just in time to see a Mama Black Bear and her cub racing for the trees. They had padded up to sniff Mom’s bare feet!
At the end of the summer, station wagon packed to the ceiling, the family drove South through Sheridan, Wyoming before heading back East. It was decided then that the Crider Family would be moving to Sheridan. So, they drove all the way back across country, sold everything and drove back to Sheridan and arrived in September 1957. Kelly, Nelson and Neal were all born in Sheridan.
In the 1960s Mom participated in a play called “Inherit the Wind” @ Central Junior High School. I believe that she was secretly very pleased with her performance but that was a very short-lived acting career because she was just a very busy mother of seven children.
John and Marilyn were both very civic minded people.
Mom volunteered at the election polls and for the Red Cross. Dad was in Jaycees, Toast Masters, a member of the Sheridan-WYO Rodeo Board, involved with All American Indian Days and the Sheridan Horse Patrol. Mom was his constant support team for all of those activities as well as his Office Receptionist and bookkeeper.
Doc Crider put together a family run horse concession near Bear Lodge at Burgess Junction. I believe it was an attempt to keep all seven of us kids busy and out of trouble and give Mom a break. We were going to horse sales and buying horses, clipping and shoeing and riding them, building fence and corrals, polishing horse tack and running the operation. Dad and Mom would come up on Wednesday nights and on the weekends. My brothers and I kept occupied for four summers running the horse rental business. Archie Nash wrote an article for the Western Horseman which was published in the July 1970 issue called “Saddles, Bridles, and Responsibilities”.
In the early 1970’s, just before the big coal mines came to the Sheridan Area things were very depressed and money was nonexistent in the Sheridan Community. Doc ended up selling the horse concession and locked the door on his Chiropractic Office. They left Sheridan for a while but came back a few years later and started over. During that time period Mom got a job working for Willets Travel and got to take tour groups out. I believe that she had the time of her life working for that Travel Company. But the faithful wife and mother that she was she returned to Sheridan and joined back up with Dad and the remaining younger brothers.
John and Marilyn were married for 49 years and three months when Dad passed away.
Marilyn was a widow for the last 20 years. During those years she worked at the Sheridan Inn Gift Shop, the U.S. Forest Service, and Kings Saddlery Museum which she really loved. She told me she should have never quit working. She loved the stimulation and the visiting with people.
Marilyn Crider died on Sunday, February 7th at the Age of 91. She had been diagnosed withCOVID-19 and had pneumonia. I talked to her a week ago and she said; “Good grief, I never thought that I would spend my last days in a tiny room by myself” after raising a large family.
WE LOVE YOU MOM. Rest in Peace. A life well lived as a dedicated wife, mother, and community minded individual.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, John R. Crider; sons, John A., Neal and Nelson and Brother Walter Weber Age 98. She was survived by her daughter Karen, sons Mike (Theresa), Kyle, and Kelly (Erin). She had twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Champion Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements. Online condolences may be written at www.championfh.com.