Marian Michael née Pendergrass was born in Colorado City, Texas on Dec. 5, 1927. She died in Austin, Texas, on May 16, 2011.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Wolfgang F. Michael; her parents, J. W. and Ruby Pendergrass; a brother and sister-in-law, Lewis and Corinne Pendergrass; a brother-in-law, Tom K. Barton; and a niece, Belle B. Rosing.
She is survived by a brother and sister-in-law, Colonel B. Pat and Anita Pendergrass; a sister, Ruth P. Barton; and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
Marian grew up in Sweetwater, Texas, where she graduated from Newman High School. After attending Abilene Christian College her freshman year, she transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.A. in Journalism in 1951 and an M.A. in Folklore in 1960. Her career in journalism ranged from working on high school and city newspapers in Sweetwater and Temple to teaching in the UT Journalism Dept. for some two decades.
She married Wolfgang Michael in 1952; in a sense, she also joined the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas. She became the set and costume designer for the annual play, continuing her duties for over half a century. She was also active in the department's two conversational activities for students: Stammtisch at noon each weekday and Deutschübende Gesellschaft on Wednesday evenings. They also organized the Texas Association of German Students, a statewide organization for students of German. Marian worked tirelessly organizing the annual conventions and editing and publishing the bimonthly newspaper for and by students of German.
Although most well known for her work with the Dept. of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas at Austin, Marian was talented in many areas. Her training in folklore came in handy when she spent some 15 years traveling throughout the rural areas of Central Texas to record Black Gospel singers. Much of her collection is now archived in the Library of Congress.
One of the accomplishments for which she was the proudest was receiving in 1989, jointly with her husband, the prestigious University of Texas College of Liberal Arts Pro Bene Meritis Award.
On a personal level, she faithfully and lovingly cared for her parents and husband, her kindness even extending to any stray cat which wandered her way. Her hobbies and activities are too numerous to mention here in full, but included everything from painting, pottery, quilting and embroidery, to hiking the Alps with her husband in his native land.
Ruhe in Frieden.
A public memorial service will be held graveside on June 11, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. at the Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, 2800 Hancock Drive. A reception will follow at the Texas French Bread Café, 2900 Rio Grande Street.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial contributions to the W.F. and Marian Michael Scholarships and Fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin. Checks made payable to UT Austin can be mailed to: College of Liberal Arts Development Office, 1 University Station, G6300, Austin, TX 78712.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 – (512) 452-8811.