ECW Honored Women Nominations

The ECW Spring Meeting will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2019 in Pierre at Trinity Church beginning at 11 am CST. In addition to the general business of the meeting, we will be voting to select the ECW Honored Woman 2019. 

The women that have been nominated are: 

Marilyn Jones           Emmanuel, Rapid City

Jean Lacher               St. Paul’s, Brookings

Evelyn Murdy          Christ Church, Lead 

DeVonne Snow        St. Luke’s, Hot Springs 

We encourage each of you to attend this meeting and cast your vote for the woman to be selected as the ECW Honored Woman 2019.


Marilyn Jones


Born in Winnipeg on February 7, 1930, Marilyn Lunney Jones was the second of two daughters born to Frank and Lily Lunney.  Her parents had emigrated from Ireland during its dark days to seek a better life in the West Indies.  When the sugar cane industry died, they moved to Canada.  Marilyn's parents were devout Anglicans.  Marilyn remembers walking to church each Sunday with her parents.  She also recalls having pneumonia as a child and that their rector brought her a Bible.

Marilyn went to college at the University of Manitoba where she earned her degree in home economics. While a student there, she was on the advisory council of a young adult group for Anglican students.  On a very cold winter's night, Marilyn was to attend a meeting of the group.  Although she wanted to stay home, she chose to attend.  There she met Walter Jones, who was also a member of the advisory council and a student at St. John's College, a small Anglican college located on the campus of the University of Manitoba.  Walter told his roommate that he had just met the woman he intended to marry!

Marilyn Lunney and Walter Jones were married in Winnipeg in August 1951.  The bishop sent the newlyweds to Flin Flon, Manitoba, a mining town founded in 1927 and located about 600 miles north of Winnipeg.  Walter was given the charge to establish a church there, St. Peters Anglican church.  It was in Flin Flon that the Joneses first two daughters were born, Lenore and Leah.

In about 1955 the Joneses returned to Winnipeg, where Barry was born.  According to Marilyn, Bishop Gesner of South Dakota had written to Walter three times asking him to come to South Dakota.  Walter told the bishop that he was honored, but that he was responsible for three churches and thus declined.  Barry was an asthmatic child and frequently very ill.  Doctors recommended they move to a drier climate and away from wheat fields.  In 1958 they moved to Mitchell, South Dakota, where Walter was rector at St. Mary's, the oldest church in Mitchell.  When they pulled into town Marilyn saw a little sign that said, "We like Mitchell and you will too!"  She said the people were wonderful, so welcoming.  She found their refrigerator stocked with bread, milk, eggs, and other staples.  Dr. Floyd Gillis, a member of St. Mary's, had assured them that he would take good care of Barry.  Floyd's wife Anita became Marilyn's dear friend.  It was in Mitchell that their youngest daughter, Kristin, was born.

In 1963 the Joneses moved to Sioux Falls, where Walter served as Bishop Gesner's administrative assistant until 1968.  Marilyn's ministry during these years involved singing in the choir, working with the altar guild, and helping with coffee hours, church nursery care, vacation bible school, and other ministries involving children and families.  After Bishop Gesner retired, an election was held for a new bishop.  Walter was one of the candidates, but  was not elected.  In 1968 the Joneses moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, where Walter served as rector at St. George's parish for about one and a half years.  In 1969 he was called back to South Dakota to serve as Dean of the Cathedral.  In 1970 Walter was chosen Bishop of South Dakota and was consecrated in Pine Ridge.

During these years, Marilyn was busy rearing four children and supporting her husband in his work.  Her gift of Christian hospitality was put to good use as she had dinner guests three or four times a week.  Often the guests were invited at the last minute, and she'd put one child to work chopping and slicing to extend whatever she'd planned for dinner and another child to vacuuming the carpets prior to the guests' arrival.  Many, many people experienced the blessings of Marilyn's warmth and hospitality.

The Joneses also opened their home in Sioux Falls to the children of some diocesan clergy so that they could pursue their educations without having the long bus rides that would be necessary on the reservation. 

It was during Bishop Walter's tenure that Cursillo was started in South Dakota.  Marilyn was very much involved, serving on the work crews and planning the menus.  Cursillo sparked a renewed spirituality in those who participated.  It also brought much joy, laughter, and music into Walter and Marilyn's joint ministry.  They both served as leaders in this movement and valued it highly.

In the '70's Marilyn earned a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of South Dakota. After earning her master's degree, she was hired by Sioux Valley Hospital (now Sanford) to establish the first hospital-based child care center for hospital staff.  She designed the interior space of the building, wrote the policy manual, hired and trained staff, and oversaw the success of this program.   Bishop Jones served as Bishop of South Dakota until 1983.  In that same year, Bishop Walter was called back to the diocese of Rupert's Land in Canada.  Because of his seniority as a bishop, he was elected as an archbishop in Canada, one of six at the time.  During this time Marilyn was "hired and blessed," as she put it, to be the executive director of the Day Nursery Centre child care center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. There were three centers serving about 147 children.  When complimented on this achievement, Marilyn said, "Tuck it in the back of your head!"  Always modest about her own accomplishment, Marilyn skimmed over her recognition by a Winnipeg service organization for her outstanding service to children in the community.

Walter retired in 1995, and they moved to Rapid City, where Marilyn continued her involvement in many ministries.  During her retirement, she is a warm and welcoming presence.  She was passionate about the United Thank Offering and micro finance projects for women in poverty around the world (especially the Grameen Foundation), always encouraging other to participate.  Her creative gifts were also used for ministry.  She knit prayer shawls and mittens for children at Day Nursery Centre in Manitoba and helped create quilts for victims of fire through her membership in the Black Hills Quilters Guild .

Marilyn's parents influenced her deeply.  She described her father as "steady as a rock" and her mother as one who believed in "good manners always."  Her fond memories of her parents, her devotion in parenting her own children, and her professional efforts to improve the lives of children all reflect her lifelong child-like trust in God. She is a warm, welcoming presence who strives to make all welcome and to put them at their ease.

Certainly, her devotion to God, to her family, and to her church has been rock solid.  We are honored to present Marilyn Lunney Jones as a candidate for Honored Woman of the Year 2019. 

Nominated by Emmanuel Episcopal Rapid City ECW, submitted by Jackie Newell and Kay Paschke


Evelyn Murdy


Thank you for your letter requesting nominees for ECW Honored Woman of 2019.  Christ Church of Lead would like to nominate Evelyn Murdy for your consideration.

Evelyn Schnitzel was born in July 1927 in San Francisco, California.  Very little is known of her earliest years, but we are fairly certain she led a life of debauchery.  All that changed in 1930 when her family moved to the Black Hills and they became members of Christ Church.  She has been walking the straight and narrow ever since!

In 1946 Evelyn wed the love of her life, Ivo Murdy, and they were married for 66 years until Ivo passed on in 2012.  It was early in their relationship that Ivo informed her that hewould be doing all the drinking and cussing in their marriage.  We can only imagine what a relief this was for Evelyn, and she still abides by that edict today.  (Although I did convince her to try sour beer for the first time at my wedding. She didn’t like it, but she didn’t cuss about it!)

During her many decades as the backbone of Christ Church and the Christ Church ECW, Evelyn has held many positions.  She had a stranglehold on the position of ECW Clerk for almost 25 years, starting in the early 60’s. She was promoted to President in 1987 and held that position until she abdicated some 20 years later.  She has also held the role of President of the Altar Guild. 

Her wisdom has been invaluable guiding Christ Church, and she served many, many terms as a Vestry Member.  For years she has wanted to retire and we wouldn’t let her. She finally put her foot down at this year’s Annual Meeting, and we were forced to choose a replacement.  It is so hard to get any work out of a 91-year-old woman these days! Sheesh.

All kidding aside, when Jesus spoke of the “salt of the earth” in his Sermon on the Mount, He must have had Evelyn specifically in mind.  We hope you will consider our petition to have Evelyn officially recognized as an “Honored Woman.”


Susan Medley

Christ Church ECW President

Jean Lacher


Nominee:  Jean Lacher

Home church:  St. Paul’s, Brookings

Contributions to the Episcopal Church and Episcopal Church Women:

Too numerous to recall them all, but some of the major ones follow.

  • General Convention Deputy

  • Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota Standing Committee

  • Thunderhead Episcopal Center board—numerous terms throughout the camp’s history

  • Active member of St. Paul’s, Brookings

  • Diocesan Convention facilitator and organizer

I trust the first two positions are self-explanatory.  In reverse order, here are a few details about the last three aspects.

I don’t know that the “Diocesan Convention Facilitator is an official title.  I do know that Jean has worked behind the scenes for years to help set up, run, and clean up our annual Diocesan conventions.  She showed up early and helped get the beautiful quilts hung around the meeting hall.  She helped the diocesan staff keep meetings running smoothly by making sure copies and supplies were available, sometimes on short notice.  And she stayed late, making sure the quilts were taken down with care, stored away for the next year or delivered to the proper recipients if they had been purchased or gifted.


As an active member of St. Paul’s, Brookings, Jean has sewn curtains and other needed church articles.  She sings in (and sometimes leads) the choir and helps keep the church building and property looking fresh and inviting.  A faithful and enthusiastic Episcopalian.  Jean promotes St. Paul’s and the Episcopal Church throughout the Brookings community, the state, and nationally.  She gives generously of her time, talents, and treasure to the United Thank Offering, Niobrara Convocation, Thunderhead Episcopal Center, her parish, and the Diocese.

Personally I came to know Jean’s dynamic efforts through our work together for Thunderhead Episcopal Center (TEC).  Not only did Jean head up our board during much of my tenure, she also provided years of records from her past service to the camp.  Jean and I worked side by side to clean up Supertent one spring after water damage from a burst pipe.  Not only did we deal with water damage but also dust, and debris from the subsequent reconstruction work.  She is efficient, tireless, cheerful, and devoted worker.

Jean knows the Episcopal Church in and out, loves it dearly, and serves it well, mostly behind the scenes and without acclaim.  She is a dedicated worker in all levels from the nitty-gritty-roll-up-your sleeves to the long haul slog that is often committee work.  She is an advocate for our church, our women, and our youth.  It is time to recognize and honor her dedication and good works by making her our South Dakota Honored Woman for 2019.

Respectfully submitted,

Holly Moseley


DeVonne Snow


To Whom It May Concern:

I am honored to nominate DeVonne Snow for South Dakota’s Episcopal Church Woman of the Year.  I have had the pleasure of having DeVonne in my life since I was born and have always found her to be devoted, passionate, and dependable.  She has poured her heart and soul into St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to bring everyone closer to God as a family that can depend on fellowship in every aspect of their lives.

DeVonne joined the church in the late 1970’s when she, and her family, moved to Hot Springs, SD.  Since the first day, she has only helped to improve the church and all the amazing things it offers the community.  As a talented musician, she has loyally been the church’s organist for 50 years, and played a large role in constructing the church’s initial Mutual Ministry.  As a strong advocate for community, she was part of the organization that brought all churches from the Hot Springs community together for Lessons and Carols, a homey environment to learn the word of God and share in the beauty of song in praise and tell the story of the Lord.

I couldn’t think of another person more deserving of this award than someone whose passion for the church is unmatched.  I, Lindsay Livesay, am pleased to nominate DeVonne Snow for the South Dakota ECW Woman of the Year.


Lindsay D. Livesay

To the ladies of SD ECW 

As a member of the Hot Springs chapter of ECW, with love and honor would like to nominate 

DeVonne Snow for the South Dakota ECW Woman of the Year.  I have known DeVonne since I was little, both through church and socially.  She and her husband Jim have been friends with my grandparents for over 50 years. DeVonne has filled St. Luke’s with music for as long as I can remember and as her body has slowed down she continues to play for us, sometimes through much pain in her joints.

DeVonne and her husband were part of the initial team that brought Mutual Ministry to Hot Springs, they put much time and energy into keeping the doors of St. Luke’s open when a priest couldn’t be there full time.  She has worked tirelessly with outreach programs to help our low income citizens in town and in surrounding communities.

As DeVonne’s body is not cooperating with her like she wants it to, she has had to cut back on her contributions to the church and she can’t play the organ every week like she has in the past.  But, she is still involved every week with the hymn choice and any extra music we might need.  DeVonne is 

St. Luke’s, as she has been for the 70+ years, she is an amazing human and I am very lucky to know her and have her in my life.  I can confidently say that all members of our little church say the same. 


Rebekah J. Gabel