Resident remembered for reaching out
Whether it was the tedium of pushing papers for the Basehor Car Show or the grind of walking mile after mile in the name of cancer research, Marcia Peirsol placed herself at the forefront of helping others.
"She was always involved in everything," said Peirsol's daughter, Gretchen. "She was totally devoted to people and loved helping them whatever way she could.
"If someone asked her to do something, she could never say no."
Friends and family will invoke memories such as these when they pay final respects to Peirsol -- a Basehor resident of 15 years -- today at the Maywood Community Church in Kansas City, Kan.
Peirsol, who many remember fondly for her vibrant smile and big blue eyes, died Nov. 25, 2005, after a 10-year battle with breast and lung cancer. She was 54 years old.
Throughout life, family members said she was brave in the face of adversity and unwavering in her faith. That didn't change over the last few weeks, even when the severity of her illness increased.
Gretchen Peirsol said her mother was resigned to her fate of leaving this world prematurely, "but knew something better waited for her on the other side."
Marcia Peirsol was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. Through treatment she recovered and spent more than six years in remission.
During remission, she did as she'd always done -- reached out to help others.
Family members said she spent time with other breast cancer survivors in local support groups and each August she donned a pink T-shirt and walked in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Walk in Kansas City, Mo.
She also further championed the cause of fighting cancer by working at cancer awareness booths during county fairs and by participating in study treatments.
"She said even if it didn't help her, it could help someone else," her daughter said.
The cancer eventually returned and spread to her right lung. Peirsol spent the last few years courageously staving it off.
She maintained her job as human resource coordinator at Dean Machinery Company in Kansas City, Mo., until the last few weeks. Family members said she was a hard-working woman; they had to plead with her to stop working.
While she spent her final years in ill health, Marcia Peirsol's world was brightened by the arrival of her two grandchildren, Dakota and Taylor.
Lynsey Schick, formerly Peirsol, is her eldest daughter and mother to the two infants. She and her husband, Mike, live in Leavenworth.
"She couldn't go to the store without buying something for them," said Steve Peirsol, Marcia's husband of 31 years. He said that the trunk of Marcia's car and a spare room at the couple's home is full of toys for the grandchildren.
Marcia Peirsol often made a habit of singing songs with Dakota, family members said. They added that it was a blessing that she got to see 2-month-old Taylor be born.