Christel (Elisabeth) Trolenberg Marquardt, age 84, passed away on March 8, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was very thankful of the many friends who helped her through this time.
She was preceded in death by her son, Eric, in 1981. Survivors include Phil, Andrew (Jackie), and Joel (Gyalsten), and grandchildren Charlie, Ben, Grace, Sarah, Andrew, Maddie, and Tashi.
Christel was born August 26, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. She attended a Lutheran grade school and her family later moved to a chicken farm. She worked at the horse track across from the farm peeling potatoes to make money in junior high. She attended Crete-Monee High school where she played piano, clarinet saxophone, baritone sax, flute and won several competitions. Following high school she worked at ACME steel as a secretary until she had enough money to attend Concordia Teacher’s College. After two years of teaching at a two-room schoolhouse, she married and had four boys, moving from Chicago to California to Minnesota, and finally settling in Topeka. While raising her children, she attended Missouri Western, and graduated with honors from Washburn Law School in 1974 where she was a managing editor of the Law Journal. She was later celebrated as a distinguished alum at both schools.
Following law school, she worked for Cosgrove, Webb, and Omen in Topeka, becoming a partner, and then started the law firm Palmer, Marquardt and Snyder. In 1985, she was named one of the Top Ten Business Women in America by the by American Business Women’s Association. In 1986 she became the first woman President of the Kansas Bar Association. She continued to practice law in Topeka, but when her kids settled in Kansas City and Chicago in the early 1990s, she moved to Lenexa and started a law practice with her son Andrew. After eighteen months, she was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals where she served as a judge for 17 years.
Christel’s civic and community involvement and awards are too numerous to mention. Anyone that knew her understood besides her family, her passions were Washburn University, Washburn Law School, Topeka Symphony and equal rights for women. She was a Chair of the Washburn University Board of Regents and Chair of the Washburn University School of Law Board of Governors. She much enjoyed the fact that her birthday coincided with the historical date when women won the right to vote. Christel’s legacy of helping women in law and business will surely live on and be remembered for a very long time.
She was proud of her German heritage and loved doing crossword puzzles, playing Bridge (among other games later in life) and watching Jeopardy. Those who knew her could see daily her personal discipline of hard work and a drive to do her best in whatever she needed to do. As she used to say, raising children was no walk in the park. Doing so while earning top awards in law school and being a “young lawyer” in her late 30’s and early 40’s was proof of her drive and work ethic. She will be remembered for her fierce loyalty and love for her friends and family.
Services will be at Faith Lutheran Church, Topeka, KS Saturday March 14, 2020, visitation at 9:30am, service at 11am followed by reception at Faith and private family interment at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Christel Marquardt Scholarship at Washburn Law School, Topeka Symphony, or Faith Lutheran Church.
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