September 29, 2023, 91, Goldsboro —
Marlene Margaret Colyer, 91, peacefully passed away at her home on Friday, September 29, 2023. She was born in Farncombe which is located in the United Kingdom to the late Charles and Amelia Mabel Hampshire. In addition to her parents, Marlene was preceded in death by her brother, William Hampshire.
In September 1939, when WWII broke out in Europe, Marlene was seven years old. Farncombe was in a valley location, and Marlene would often share stories about the evacuees from London her mother took in, as well as her experience with the doodlebug (V-1) bombs and the prisoners of war housed in the area. In later years, Marlene enjoyed sharing her WWII experiences and memories with local students.
After the war, Marlene worked different jobs before going into Nursing, working at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon. Two years later she entered the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) medical division, training and serving at hospitals in various locations in England. Marlene was sent to Wahn in Germany where she met the love of her life, Frank Cox (later Colyer), who was completing his two years of National Service (NS) in the transport section of the medical wing. Once Frank completed his National Service and Marlene had separated from the RAF, they returned to England and were married on March 3rd, 1956. After the birth of Gillian and Michael, Frank re-enlisted and the family relocated to Odiham in Hampshire and then West Malling in Kent where their third child, Jacqueline, was born. Thereafter, the RAF sent the family to Cyrus for a year and then to a posting in Iran for two years. Back in England, Frank worked at RAF Henlow and the family lived in the village of Stotfold. During those years Marlene had to be at the helm of the family both when the RAF sent Frank overseas and when he became critically ill with renal failure. Due to his medical condition, Frank returned to civilian life in 1970 and the family settled in Braintree in Essex. Frank passed away in September 1990. When Marlene’s daughter and her family moved to the USA, and after having made several trips, Marlene accepted the offer to come and live with them In November 1997.
Marlene loved to walk and did so daily for as long as she was able. She was an avid reader, and this was something she was able to do until this year. While helping her family, Marlene also volunteered at Wayne Memorial Hospital for ten years accumulating over 5,000 hours until her health declined. She was nominated as Volunteer of the Year.
Marlene was a member of several groups over the years including the English Club, the Senior Center, and a water aerobics group at the YMCA. She attended church at Freedom Baptist Church for many years where she was a member of the Keenager Sunday School Class. In later years she became a member of Faith Church where she enjoyed the monthly Keenager luncheons and trips. Marlene enjoyed travel and visited her daughter in South Africa three times, as well as making trips back to England to see family. She enjoyed taking trips in the USA and made several trips with friends and family members using Per Flo and Collette Tours.
The family will receive friends on Friday, October 6, 2023, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Faith Church. A service to celebrate Marlene’s life will follow the visitation at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary with Pastor Christian Powell officiating.
Marlene is survived by her children, Jackie Longwell, and husband, Roger, Gillian Viljoen (South Africa) and Michael Colyer (Thailand). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Joshua Longwell, Joseph Colyer (UK), Aidan James Colyer (wife Kirsty – UK), Ashley Rogers (husband Ken), and Frank Oliver Viljoen South Africa). She was a step-grandmother to Roger Longwell Jr. (w. Jennifer) and Shelly Primm (h. Lewis). Her great-grandchildren include Michael Longwell, Dasia Drotzur, Logan Colyer, Isabella Longwell, Nicholas Longwell, Adelyn Rogers, Kennedy Rogers, and Arabella Viljoen. Step-great-grandchildren include Lauren and Hannah Rogers. Marlene is survived by her sister, Barbara Horlock (UK); brother and sister-in-law, Chris and Sheelagh Cox (Scotland) and several nieces and nephews.
We would like to extend special thanks to those who have assisted us during the last three years: Ashley Prebe, Chassidy Kearney, Jaleesa McCormick, Jennifer Brown, Catherine Massey, Ashley Pate, Angie Reid, Diane Ellis, and Sylvia Wood.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Marlene’s memory to
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Services are entrusted to Seymour Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.