Marilyn Jones won an award for all of the work she has done in preserving and sustaining rural culture.
If you talk to anyone in Peabody who attends community events and ask them who can be counted on to help out, one of the most common names to come up is Marilyn Jones. And it is probably that dedication and constant showing up that recently got her the honor of an award.
Jones, a longtime Peabody resident, was presented with a We Kan! award on Nov. 15 in a surprise presentation at the Peabody Township Library.
The Inman-based non-profit We Kan! has been choosing ten recipients a year since 1993 to show appreciation for dedicated work in helping preserve and sustain rural culture.
According to Susan Mayo who often works with Jones on community events, “She has been a very active member of the Peabody Historical Society. She helped get Peabody on the National Historic Register, helped restore the Historic Morgan House, ran the Jones Sheep Farm, was internationally known for her wool spinning and weaving classes, started the Farmer’s Market in Peabody, ran a bed and breakfast, is currently vice-chair of the Sunflower Theatre, and ran the antique store, The Maysville Mercantile. She’s quite a horticultural expert. She is currently one of the countywide members of the Flint Hills Counterpoint coalition, and as such met with the Land Institute in September to help plan an edible plant and wildflower tour. They were all very impressed with her knowledge and her history. She also continues to have a large organic garden, raises sheep, goats, and chickens all despite being 88 years old.”
Jones has been very busy and seems to be a worthy recipient of the award.
The presentation was made by Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.
Penner said, “Marilyn has been making a difference to visitors and residents of Peabody in diverse ways for decades. From making and sharing bread to helping preserve buildings, Marilyn has always been in touch with the needs of the area and is ready to pitch in. She is clearly well-loved and it’s because she makes an impact simply by being herself.”
Jones’s award had the words “You’ve Made A Difference” engraved on a round plate made by Elk Falls Pottery.
“They gave me a plate made by a lady there I know that used to homeschool her kids and she would bring them here to do tours of my goats and all the animals. And now those kids have kids,” Jones said.
Around seventy-five people surprised Marilyn just outside the library where Marilyn was lured out from a meeting when the group started singing Home on the Range. The presentation was made on the
library steps before everyone went inside to greet Marilyn and enjoy treats.
“I was totally surprised. I had no idea! They were a sneaky bunch. I was just hustling around trying to get stuff done and I was just floored. Ann Leppke loves to cook and she just went to so much trouble putting together all the wine and cheese boards and making everything so lovely. From what I understand I just had one cracker and one olive because I was just so busy talking to everyone. It was very nice,” said Jones. “I’ve lived here a long time and the community has always been very good to me.”
In addition to Jones, the other 2021 award presented to date has been to Grant Neuhold of Greensburg.
Three other We Kan! Awards will be presented for 2021.