Woman leaves $1M in gifts

Marian Wilson, who died in September, is leaving nearly $1 million in gifts to the community. Two churches, the Bowlus, library and historical society will receive gifts.



May 25, 2021 - 9:50 AM

Marian Wilson

Marian Wilson, who died in September at the age of 91, is leaving nearly $1 million in gifts to the community.

Beneficiaries include her late husband’s church, First Christian Church, and the Church of the Nazarene, of which she was a long-time member. Both churches will receive $240,000.

Additionally, the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola Public Library and Allen County Historical Society will receive $160,000 apiece, Iola attorney Clyde Toland, executor of Wilson’s estate, announced.

The gift to the Bowlus will go the USD 257 Board of Education, which serves as trustees for Thomas Bowlus’s will.

Sums are being distributed this week following the final settlement of the estate. 

Each entity may receive a smaller distribution later as well, Toland said.

The balance of Wilson’s $1.7 million estate went to out-of-state charities and individuals.

WILSON was born in South Dakota and moved with her parents to Gas in 1944.

She married Orel Wilson in 1947, and the couple continued to live in Gas.

She began working for Sears, Roebuck & Company when it opened in Iola in 1952, and eventually became store manager.

Outside of work, Wilson was an avid singer and organist for the First Church of the Nazarene, for Iola’s Christmas Vespers concert series and other community events.

She enjoyed singing duets with her sister, the late Margaret Smoot.

Orel Wilson died in 2013. 

The couple had no children.