Educator, Churchwoman, Wife, University Administrator, and Community
Leader, are synonymous with Marion Walker Spidle.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 18, 1897, Marion Walker Spidle
was the daughter of Letford William Walker and Georgeina Young Walker. She
attended schools in New Jersey and in Tennessee before moving to Alabama. She
graduated from Alabama College, now the University of Montevallo, 1916. She
completed an additional B.S. Degree and the M.A. Degree at Columbia University
and did additional graduate study at Oregon State University. She was married
to William Clarence Spidle. She and her husband were the parents of a daughter,
Margaret Campbell Spidle.
Committed to her self-made goals, Marion Walker Spidle supported the work
of researchers who desired to improve the lives of Alabama's farm families.
Many improvements were made through her work in public education and through
the Alabama Extension network.
She joined Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, as a
Jefferson County Home Demonstration Agent in 1918 and, after having worked in
other counties, became the Dean of Women and Head of the School of Home
Economics at Auburn University in 1938. She worked diligently to gain state
funding for suitable building facilities for the School of Economics at Auburn.
She influenced hundreds of students at Auburn University to complete studies in
home economics and in other fields of study as they prepared for their lives as
homemakers and as career women. Her culinary arts and handiwork were known to
three generations of Auburn women.
Among the numerous honors bestowed upon Marion Walker Spidle
have been The Distinguished Woman of the Year, in 1960, by THE
PROGRESSIVE FARMER; the Distinguished Alumna, 1963 by the University of
Montevallo Alumnae Association; one of the first 100 Pioneers in Home
Economics, in 1968 by the National Council of Administrators of Home
Economics; the home economics building on the Auburn University campus named
Marion Walker Spidle Hall, 1971; at the 1977 Annual Meeting of the
Alabama Home Economics Association, she was saluted for 50 extraordinary
years of membership and, in 1973, she was elected as a Ruling Elder in the
Auburn Presbyterian Church.
A devotee to using her own education for the benefit of
others, her legacy is "the indelible mark that she made on her profession,
the State of Alabama, and all with whom she worked."