Marjorie  Giles


Marjorie Beryl Giles was born on June 16, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, to Irving Robert and Beryl Jessie (Rodger) Giles. She attended the National College of Education and received a master's degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Early in her career, she served as a kindergarten teacher and a Christian education director in Illinois and eastern Iowa and served as a residence hall director at Illinois State University.
In 1972, Marjorie accepted a job as associate dean of students at Central College in Pella, Iowa. She then served as dean of students from 1983-95, and in addition, she served as the college's Director of Retention and Leadership Development Programs from 1995-98.
As a woman in a field dominated by men, Marjorie championed women's rights, not women's liberation (according to a 1972 article in The Ray) and worked to "see equalization of women in all aspects of campus life." This included women's athletics. Although Marjorie knew little about sports when she arrived, Central soon assigned her to the athletic committee. Through the work of Dean Giles and many others, women's athletics at Central and in the Iowa Conference flourished. Giles helped start women's athletics championships in the Iowa Conference, was a member of the NCAA Council from 1990-93, and was the first female president of the Iowa Conference during the 1991-92 academic year. In 2003, the Iowa Conference renamed the women's all-sports trophy the "Marjorie B. Giles Trophy." Marjorie grew to be an avid Central Dutch sports fan and fondly remembered, "Being in the gym when the women's basketball team won the National Championship brings tears to my eyes all these years later. It was just magnificent!"
Marjorie was very active in civic and professional organizations. She served as the President of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the President of Crossroads of Pella, and was on the board of Pella Community Day Care Center. She also served as president of the American Association of University of Women Deans and Counselors and the National Association of Student Personnel Administration.
After her retirement in 1998, Marjorie remained active at Central as a member of Friends of the Central Arts, Central RED, Central Club, Cornerstone Society, and Heritage Club. She also continued volunteering at Second Reformed Church of Pella and the Pella Historical Society where she enjoyed greeting visitors at Vermeer mill and the information windmill on the square. One of Marjorie's passions in her retirement was spending time in the local elementary schools reading with first grade students.
Anyone who knew Marjorie for any length of time knew she bled Cubbie blue! Chicago Cubs socks, shirts, and games were often part of Marjorie's day. She recalled fond memories of going to Wrigley with her dad when she was young. Marjorie looked forward to time with fellow Cubs fans to discuss scores, rosters, and plays. Her trips to Arizona were timed to be sure to catch spring training. After suffering a stroke, Marjorie developed pneumonia and passed away at the Pella Regional Health Center in Pella on May 5, 2019, at the age of 82 years. Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Janet K. Adams. She is survived by her brother, Charles R. Giles, nephews: Douglas Giles, Gregory Giles, and Jeffrey Adams, a niece, Jenny Adams and an adopted daughter, Tamara. Memorial services were held on Sunday, May 26, at the Second Reformed Church in Pella. Memorial contributions are suggested for Second Reformed Church or the Marjorie Giles Scholarship Fund at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Van Dyk -Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Published on May 28, 2019
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