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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Member Spotlight: Meet Frank Markley

Member Spotlight: Meet Frank Markley

Longtime member Frank Markley
Monday, April 6, 2020

An avid reader and a frequent visitor to Red Cloud, Frank Markley has been a member of the Willa Cather Foundation for a staggering thirty-seven years.

Markley discovered Cather while majoring in English at the University of Akron in Ohio. He chose a literature course on regional writers; Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case” and One of Ours were among the assigned readings. In 1975, Markley embarked on a cross-country road trip, visiting the boyhood home of Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri, and stopping at several national parks. While perusing a Rand McNally map, he spotted the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and decided to visit what he presumed would be a monument. Arriving in Red Cloud after the Cather Center had closed, Markley followed directions to the “memorial” and found himself parked outside of Willa Cather’s Childhood Home. At that moment, he was inspired to plan a genuine visit.

The following year, Markley returned and toured the Willa Cather Childhood Home, the St. Juliana Falconieri Church, and took the guided country tour. He met then Executive Director Joanna Lathrop and founder Mildred Bennett. It was this visit that motivated Markley to become a member. Afterward, he made regular visits to Red Cloud in route to Denver. Reflecting on his frequent trips, he recently recalled, “Of all the literary sites I’ve visited, Red Cloud is among the top.” He described the commercialization found in a few of the other literary locations, and praised the “authentic experience” awaiting visitors to Red Cloud.

Markley resides in Ohio where he is employed as a copy editor, focusing most of his time and talent on an international New-York-based physics journal.

The Willa Cather Foundation thanks Frank Markley for his loyal support. “Frank is among a small subset of members who have supported us for over half of our organization’s lifespan,” said Executive Director Ashley Olson. She added, “This long-term commitment to our mission is praiseworthy, and he has our eternal gratitude.”

We invite you to join Frank Markley, and other Cather enthusiasts across the country, by becoming a member of the Willa Cather Foundation! Membership benefits are summarized here.