Marilyn Vanway (’77)


Marilyn Johnson Mathews Van Way passed into Eternity on June 28, 2020. She was born in Columbus, Georgia on September 1, 1936 to Emily Johnson Mathews and Clifford Laurence Mathews. In 1944, the family moved to Houston, Texas, where Marilyn spent the remainder of her life. She attended Houston public schools and graduated from Lamar High School in 1954. She matriculated to Southern Methodist University and The University of Houston, majoring in Radio and TV before she married James William Van Way in 1956. After her daughters Laura and Cheryll started elementary school, Marilyn returned to college and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an English Major from Houston Baptist University. Marilyn attributed her success in life to her Houston Baptist University education, which led to a rewarding career teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in various schools. She later returned to Houston Baptist University to earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and became a counselor for the Gifted and Talented Program at T.H. Rogers. She later moved to Lanier Middle School, where she was named Counselor of the Year in recognition of her work on Lanier’s declaration as a drug-free school. She retired from Lanier Middle School in 1995.Marilyn dedicated her life in service to her faith, her family, and her community. Marilyn was christened as a baby into the Methodist church, first growing up at First United Methodist Church Downtown, and then spending her adult years at Westminster United Methodist Church, where she involved herself in teaching Sunday School, United Methodist Women, and bible study. During this time, Marilyn was also a PTA Captain and a Girl Scout Leader. Her many volunteer activities included working as a tour guide at The Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park, membership in the San Jacinto Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and serving in the Delta Kappa Gamma Educatory Society as President, Community Administrator and Bylaws Chairperson. After retiring from the Houston Independent School District in 1995, Marilyn attended Chapelwood United Methodist Church where she enjoyed bible study and family activities. She became active in the Bear Creek Genealogy Society, En Amie Book Club, and continued as an officer in the San Jacinto Chapter of the Daughters of Republic of Texas. She was asked to serve on the Memorial Park Conservancy Advisory Board to envision a beautifully redeveloped park for all of Houston. Marilyn is survived by daughters Laura Emily Van Way Metyko (husband Mark) and daughter Cheryll West Van Way Ownby (husband Clay); her 6 grandchildren Mathews Metyko (wife Ashley), Cale Ownby (wife Cynthia), Marilyn Simmons (husband Stephen), Mary Kathryn Metyko, Walker Metyko, and Maxwell Metyko; and four great grandchildren James Metyko, SJ Simmons, Ryan Metyko, and Jessie Simmons.An interment service for family and close friends will take place at Forest Park Westheimer Funeral Home on July 2, 2020 at 2:00 pm. A memorial service is scheduled for September 1, 2020.In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Memorial Park Conservancy in Marilyn’s memory ( or (713) 863-8403 ext. 108).

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