Marian Haney Lefebvre
Marian Haney Lefebvre, age 71, died on January 6, 2020, in Stoughton, Wisconsin, after a long and hard fought battle against Parkinson’s.
She was born on January 14, 1948, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, to Dexter and Ruth (Solem) Haney. She grew up in Lone Rock, Wisconsin, on the family’s Century Farm, homesteaded by her great-great grandfather in 1844.
Marian’s life would be all about books and her childhood was that of a character out of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Carol Ryrie Brink. Oak Grove, her one room schoolhouse, was just down the road. When she graduated, she was the only student in her class; in fact, she was the last student to graduate from a one room schoolhouse in the state of Wisconsin. River Valley High School followed where her love of literature, art, and music grew. She continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison majoring in Literature and Art where she also played in the Symphonic Band. There she met Mark E. Lefebvre. They shared the same love of literature and without either of them proposing they were married in the fall of 1971.
After working as the Art Director for Manchester’s Department Store and the South Central Library System, Marian and Mark brought their creativity to Stanton & Lee Publishers. Marian was both an illustrator and designer. She was best known for her illustrations in the We Were Children Then books. One reviewer commented that these illustrations “are like the memories of the writers, distorted somewhat by the years, romanticized a little by imaginations that seek to love the past, yet full enough to bring reality to what might be thought of as a dream.” Drawing on her own family history she continually recreated the past in mood and historical detail. As an award-winning designer she created the landmark book, The World of Owen Gromme. Of all her accolades she was most proud of being elected to membership in American Pen Women.
Then cancer changed the course of her life. After five years of surgeries and clinical trial chemotherapy, she found her greatest joy as Librarian at Blessed Sacrament School. She started as a volunteer when her children attended the school whether in the library or decorating the holiday bazaar. Then she was honored to be hired as the Librarian. For the next 25 years, she brought all of her talents to awakening the imaginations of young people through reading. She created an environment filled with magic through amazing displays on hundreds of different themes. She would regale her family with the stories the kids would tell her and all their little quirks. After her cancers, Marian would say that she had not just one wonderful life, but two.
Marian is survived by her husband, Mark, their children, Elizabeth and Daniel, as well as by her sisters, June (Richard), Deanna, Sharon, and a brother Jim (Gloria). She was blessed to have many nieces, nephews, and all of their children. She is further survived by her great friend, Mary Lou Nord. She was preceded in death by her parents, her mother-in-law, her nephew, Craig, and two dear friends, Elizabeth Tatarsky and Nancy Smith, and four fabulous felines, Stacey, Bester, Spike and Spot.
Marian had a lifetime of extraordinary medical care. Her family would like to thank Drs. Mark Reichelderfer, Donald Price, Eberhard Mack, Gil Ramirez, Susanne Seeger, Pamela Ryan, Ken Robbins, Matthew Swedlund, Anthony Braus, their staffs, UW Health, and Agrace. They would also like to express their deepest thanks to the entire staff of Skaalen for their compassionate care of Marian.
Marian will be buried in the cemetery of The Little Brown Church in Bear Valley, Wisconsin, where she and Mark were married, close to her family farm. There will be a celebration of Marian’s life on Sunday, June 14, 2020, the 50th anniversary of the day Marian and Mark met. “We bequeath ourselves to the dirt to grow from the grass we love.” -Walt Whitman
Please consider a memorial donation to the American Family’s Children’s Hospital Inpatient Reading Library or the Madison Public Library Foundation.