Irene Sprunger

Marian T. Rowley

Marian T. Rowley

Forum member and Secretary-General of the Urantia Brotherhood

Marian T. Rowley was probably the most preeminent scholar of The Urantia Book in her day and as Secretary-General of the Urantia Brotherhood. Dr Sadler used to refer people who had questions about the teachings to her, especially questions regarding cosmology and the various orders of beings. "Her friends, fellow readers, often teased her, saying she probably had lunch with celestial beings every day. She knew their origins, their functions, and where they served. She tended to be matter-of-fact and even irreverent about the various beings. Carolyn Kendall once called her up at 10:30 at night wanting to know where the midsonite world was; she couldn't find it mentioned in any of the headquarters clusters. Marian told her it wasn't an architectural world, but an evolutionary world somewhere in the local universe. Marian had such information on the tip of her tongue."

Marian was born on 07 Aug 1901 in Medina, New York USA, and died on 14 July 1997 in Frankfort, Indiana. She was the oldest child of Harry R and Catherine T Rowley of New York state. She had two brothers, Howard and Harry Jr, and three sisters, Kathryn, Ruth, and Betty. She grew up in Ridgeway, situated between Niagara Falls and Rochester; near Lake Ontario. "For two years she attended Wells College, Aurora, New York, before moving to Chicago at the age of 22." She arrived in Chicago, living with her uncle, Clarence and Lena Rowley at 170B Arthur Ave, Chicago, Illinois. Marian traveled with her Aunt Lena, born in Germany, to Europe in 1924 and returned to the US from Naples, Italy, on the ship, Docilio. "Marian worked at Butler Brothers in Chicago and was the secretary of Clyde Bedell, a Forum member who joined the group in 1924 at the age of 26."

"When Clyde Bedell got Marian into the Forum in 1939, she believed the revelation immediately. Clyde took a job at Marshall Fields and Marian also went with him. She retired from the Pure Oil Company in 1966. Marian started volunteering at 533 Diversey every Saturday and Sunday, and some evenings, before the book was published in 1955." She lived at 2760 Hampsted Ave, around the corner from the office. "She typed all the textbooks for the Brotherhood School." She also took care of reader correspondence and matched up readers living in neighboring areas across the world. "She proofread everything that went out the door. She worked, unpaid, until she retired in 1988 at age of 87 years of age."

Marian T Rowley may best be remembered as the first Secretary-General of Urantia Brotherhood, 1955-1976. She had a incredible talent for detail and recorded the formative years of the Urantia Brotherhood. She was Secretary 1976-1979; Secretary-General 1979-1985; and Secretary 1986-1988. Marian was ex-officio in attendance at all committee meetings while Secretary-General. She served on the General Council for 33 years, a record beaten only by John Hales.

After becoming a member of the Seventy, Marian prepared a lengthy paper (hundreds of pages) called "The Story of Joe," about a man who dies on an evolutionary planet, and ascends through the system, constellation, local universe, and superuniverse sectors, to Paradise. She also prepared many presentations for summer workshops, the Seventy, and the Brotherhood School, including, "Life on the Mansion Worlds," "The Local Universe," "Religion, What Is It?," "Personalities (of The Urantia Book)," "God the Sevenfold," and "Methods of Teaching The Urantia Book". She presented papers and did topical studies for the societies: "The Lives We Live," "The Supreme Being," "What Makes Urantia Unique?" and "The Supreme Being." She presented "Relationship With Our Unseen Friends," at the International Conference in Snowmass Colorado in 1981, with Carolyn Kendall. Marian prepared the following historical records: "Forum Roster 1955," "Urantia History," "The History of the Urantia Movement" and "A History of the Urantia Brotherhood," She enjoyed attending conferences, as she was physically able, into the 1980s. One of her last trips was to attend the memorial service of Florence Bedell, a Forum member, in California in 1979.

"Marian never married, but she had a boyfriend or two during her life. She never met anyone who was as dedicated to the Urantia Papers as she was, with whom she could become serious. In the late 1950s, when Hollywood actor, Lew Ayers, came to 533, she spent a couple of hours talking to him about the book and they kept up a correspondence for several years afterward." She retired to the Wesley Manor retirement home in Frankfort, Clinton, Indiana, USA, close to her brother Harry and sister-in-law Donna. In 1997, Marian died at the age of 95, outliving Harry and Donna Rowley. "She was mentally sharp until the year before she died, when she began to imagine many who had passed on had come to visit her at the home."

Copyright©UBHS 2007
Research conducted by the UBHS research staff. Carolyn Kendall, Forum member and personal friend wrote personal recollections and had information which are quoted in this article. Carolyn Kendall kindly granted permission for the UBHS staff to use the material included for this biography. We are grateful for her contributions.

* Carolyn Kendall, The Rowleys, e-mail, 18 May 2007. Generously provided by Carolyn Kendall and edited by the UBHS staff"
* Social Security Index Number: 325-10-3158; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before 1951.
* United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls. Year: 1910 Census Place: Ridgeway, Orleans, New York; Roll: T624_1061; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 160; Image: 1029
* National Archives Microfilm Publication Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; T715, 8892 rolls
* United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records
Administration, 1920. T625, 2,076 rolls. Year: 1920; Census Place: Ridgeway, Orleans, New York; Roll: T625_1255; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 181; Image: 465.
* History of the Urantia Brotherhood, Chicago, Illinois, ©1960 Urantia Brotherhood.

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