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Only days after the arrival of her son, songwriter Kenny O'Dell of Nolensville, Tennessee, locally known as Kenny Gist, Jr.; Marian Gist, 86, of Santa Maria, California passed peacefully away early in the morning hours of July 24, 2012 after a two week battle with lung and heart failure. Marian was surrounded by friends and loved ones during her last few days. A graveside service with Rev. Gary Grant officiating will take place at the Santa Maria Cemetery at 10:30 am on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Marian, was born July 19, 1926 on the family farm in Antlers, to Gordon and Lydia Westbook. As was common in farming families of the time she came from a large family of eight children. Kenneth Gist, Sr., her husband of 69 years, was a Marine combat veteran who was a gunner and driver of an amphibian landing craft in every major battle in the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1943 shortly before this period, in their mid-west hometown, Ken and Marian met, fell in love, and married before he left for the Pacific. Ken received word by mail of the birth of his son while on duty in the Pacific. After the conclusion of the war in the mid 1940s until the mid 1950s they owned and operated a series of three sawmills on Bear Mountain and Piute Mountain in the Sierras close to Bakersfield. In 1957 they moved to Santa Maria where Ken worked as business agent for the Teamster's Union for the next 9 years and where their son grew up and attended local schools. In the 1970s and early 1980s Ken and Marian moved to Fallon, Nevada, to be centrally located. They opened and operated the Ken Mark Booking Agency which evolved into a successful agency that provided entertainment nationwide. Upon retirement from the agency they moved back to their beloved Santa Maria which they considered home. One can see the pride Marian had for her songwriter son in her living room which is adorned with gold records and other memorabilia from his songwriting career. Such tunes as "Behind Closed Doors" and "Momma the Man's Crazy" are among his many hits. Marian was preceded in death by her parents Gordon and Lydia Westbrook and an infant brother. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Gist, Sr. Santa Maria; Son Kenneth Gist, Jr. and wife Corki Spears Gist, Nolensville, Tennessee; three grandchildren, AI Casey and wife Donna Casey, Diane Range and husband Steve Range, Sandra Blevens and husband Chuck Blevens all of Tennessee; Seven great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren all of Tennessee; as well as six beloved younger siblings. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 363, Santa Barbara, CA 93102.
Arrangements under the direction of Dudley Hoffman Mortuary, Crematory and Memory Gardens of Santa Barbara, CA.