School 29

Marian F. (Smith) Van Wechel

August 18, 1947 ~ January 29, 2021 (age 73)

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Marian Van Wechel, 73 of Brownsburg, Indiana, peacefully passed away on January 29, 2021.

Marian Frances Smith was born on Aug. 18, 1947 at Witham Hospital in Lebanon, the second child of Milburn and Mildred (Bowman) Smith. Marian’s early years were spent in Lizton where she showed her resilience in falling through a heating register in an upstairs floor and landing unhurt on the floor below. Near her fifth birthday the family moved to a small farm in the Raintown community between Lizton and Pittsboro. She helped with a wide variety of farm chores such as collecting eggs and churning butter and aiding her father with his Sunday Star newspaper route early Sunday mornings. She and her brother David competed in many games of badminton and croquet as well as playing with a succession of family dogs and cats. In 1953 the school bus transported Marian to the first grade at Pittsboro where she would finish all twelve years graduating in 1965. Her father’s love of music led her to follow him in playing the trumpet in the high school band. Marian graduated from Ball State University in 1969 where she majored in physical education playing on the varsity women’s field hockey team. Her first full time job was as an elementary school teacher at North Salem in the fall of 1969.

Attending the Lizton United Methodist Church as a child, Marian was married to William Van Wechel there on Aug. 23, 1969 living their early married years east of Lizton where they welcomed their first child, David, the next year. Their first house in Brownsburg welcomed the arrival of daughter Amy in 1974. The family moved to Yuba City, California in 1977 after Bill secured a job with Pacific Bell. The family drove across the country with their cat and dog in tow stopping along the route to see the sites. Shortly after arriving in Yuba City, Marian and Bill bought their first home on Dave Place where Marian quickly made friends with all the neighbors. Marian spent countless hours sipping coffee with her best friend Patricia Locher and gossiping. Their friendship brought the two families together which meant barbeques, camping trips, firework shows and birthday celebrations. While Dave and Amy were attending Tierra Buena elementary school, Marian worked as an aide in the cafeteria and became involved in the PTA. Marian and Bill led bingo nights and she planned numerous carnivals. She spent many hours driving around town securing donations and purchasing prizes. Also, during this time, Marian helped start the Yuba Sutter Soccer League. She was president of the league for several years while Dave and Amy played. Dave and Amy played numerous sports and Marian was their biggest cheerleader. She stood in pouring rain, baked in 100 degree heat, and sat on frozen bleachers screaming for that goal or touchdown. In 1985 Marian went back to work as a mathematics teacher for Yuba City High School. During her time at the high school, she was admired by many. She often got so many requests to be in her classes that she would run out of desks for all her students. Marian was devoted to her job and her students, she developed strong bonds with her students and mentored many of them. Marian was proud of her role as a woman educator which led to her being a founding member of the Iota Sigma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma in Yuba City. Delta Kappa Gamma is a society of woman educators that promotes professional and personal growth. During her tenure as a member, Marian served as the chapter’s president, vice president and treasurer. As treasurer, once a year Marian would rally the family to load up a trailer with merchandise to be sold at the state store for the annual convention.

Marian retired from teaching in 2005 after her first grandson, Ian was born. Being a grandmother was a source of pure joy for Marian. She helped care for both Ian and Daegan, flying across the country to be a doting grandmother. Gabby, Annie, Ian and Daegan were four of her very favorite people. Another source of joy was seeing her children happy. Witnessing Amy and Ryan’s wedding in 2000 and then Dave and Emily’s in 2006 were two of her proudest moments. Marian and Bill experienced many travels together, from camping through Yellowstone to cruising in Alaska to cross country adventures in their fifth wheel. They found profound happiness in these trips. In 2017, Marian and Bill returned to Indiana to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Marian was loved by many; her husband, children, grandchildren, family, friends, students and pets all adored her laughter and kindred spirit. She will be immensely missed and forever in our hearts.

In accordance with Marian’s wishes a Graveside service will be held at 1pm on Friday, February 5, 2021 in the Lizton K of P Cemetery. Friends and family will gather at the Funeral Home at 12pm for the procession to the cemetery. In accordance with the statewide mandate, all are kindly asked to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

For those unable to attend the Graveside Service in person, the service will be available to watch on Facebook Live on the Eric M.D. Bell Funeral Home Facebook page also beginning at 1pm. 

In Lieu of flowers memorial gifts are encouraged to Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA).

Arrangements are entrusted to Eric M.D. Bell Funeral Home in Pittsboro, Indiana.  All are encouraged to share thoughts, prayers, and memories on Marian’s memorial page found on the funeral home’s website, www. 




To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marian F. (Smith) Van Wechel, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
February 5, 2021

1:00 PM
Lizton K of P Cemetery

Please note
All are invited to gather at the funeral home at 12 pm prior to the graveside service to join the procession to the cemetery.


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