In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Marian Leftwich, 1934-2024 

Portrait of Marian Leftwich. IMB Photo

Marian Leftwich, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Nigeria, died May 4, 2024, in Carbondale, Illinois. She was 90.  

Marian was born April 10, 1934, in Belleville, Illinois, to the late Ruben Kammler and Edith Montgomery Kammler.  She graduated from Belleville Township High School in Belleville, Illinois, attended Belleville Junior College (now Southwestern Illinois College) and William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and later received the Bachelor of Science in education.  

Marian came to faith in Christ as a child. During the summer of 1945, Marian attended her first Girls Auxiliary (now Girls in Action) camp where she was thrilled to hear missionaries speak. In 1947, she publicly dedicated her life to serve as a missionary in Africa. 

Marian began dating Eugene “Gene” Leftwich during the summer of 1951. For a year, they worked together in a mission in East Saint Louis, Missouri. Marian wrote while seeking appointment that when Gene asked her to marry him, though she felt it was God’s will, she was concerned about being a foreign missionary because Gene had not yet felt called. They married on June 20, 1953. Two years later they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Gene went to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastored a church. He dropped out after two years but went back in 1962. “During William Wallace Week at the close of the school year, Gene felt God calling him for foreign mission service. He wanted to know what I thought,” Marian wrote when they sought appointment. 

In 1964, the International Mission Board appointed Eugene and Marian missionaries to Nigeria. They served in many capacities while in Nigeria including church planting, house parents, city mission work and teachers. 

Marian was preceded in death by Eugene, her husband of 55 years.  

She is survived by her children Raymond Leftwich (Joy) of Crowley, Texas; Melody Murry (Randy) of Benton, Illinois; Darryl Leftwich (Jamie) of Carbondale, Illinois; seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.   

 A funeral service was held May 10, 2024, at Lakeland Baptist Church, Carbondale, Illinois, with burial at Lakeview Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, Illinois.  

Donations in her memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center — IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.