Carson, Marion, 1927-
- Existence: 1927-
Marion Collins Carson was born to parents Jackson and Erema Collins in Chicago, Illinois in 1927. After graduating from high school in Knoxville, Iowa, she enrolled at MacMurray College for Women in Jacksonville, Illinois for two years. She went on to receive a B.A. in Secondary Education in 1949 and an M.A. in English in 1952, both from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She earned a second M.A. in American Civilization in 1954 from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). In 2004 Carson received a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from the University of Iowa.
Marion Collins married Joseph Carson in 1949. In 1955 they had their first child, Joseph, followed by Samuel, Henry, and Emily in 1957, 1959, and 1963 respectively.
Continuing her education at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary where she was the sole Unitarian Universalist student, Carson earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1987. For her thesis, she wrote a novel about faith transformations occurring in the wake of a mysterious death at the normally tranquil (fictional) Mainstream Seminary. A central character in the novel is a Unitarian Universalist of Humanist belief.
A long-time resident of Marion, Iowa, Carson delivered many sermons to Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout Iowa and occasionally presided over memorial services and wedding ceremonies for members and friends of this denomination. She served for a number of years as a Counselor for the American Humanist Association. Eventually Carson became a certified Adjunct Leader representing the American Ethical Union of which she was a member for many years. In 1997 she became the president of the Iowa Ethical Union, serving in this post until 2001.
In addition to her lifelong study of belief systems, Carson was committed to children's welfare, pacifism, and civil liberties. In the 1960s, she and her oldest son created a neighborhood club, New World Finders, for children. Carson also designed a Well-Wisher Project in the 1970s to give young people a private forum in which to address their concerns. She also participated in the Cedar Rapids Area Women's Peace Inquiry and Action Group.