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Former Minoter Evelyn Marrion’s showtime death

Minot woman plunged to her death

Submitted Photo Steven Luck, Phoenix, kneels at Marrion’s grave in “Showmen’s Rest,” a special section for carnival workers and circus performers, in Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles. Luck is a grandson of Ben Luck of Minot.

She dazzled and entertained carnival goers countless times, flying through the air while performing high above crowds as a member of “The Four Sky Devils.” However, on Aug. 23, 1955, while performing before hundreds of onlookers at the Summer Days Festival in Dixon, Ill., things went tragically wrong for the showman aerialist.

Daisy Evelyn Marrion, born Daisy Luck in Minot in 1917, fell 105 feet during an aerial performance in front of a stunned crowd that included her three-year-old daughter. Marrion struck a tree, a trailer and a fence before hitting pavement. For unknown reasons, safety ropes that were tied to her ankles gave way. Quite remarkably she remained conscious after the horrendous fall, but died from complications due to her injuries six days later.

According to her doctor, Marrion’s injuries included compound fractures of the right leg and pelvis, multiple rib and spinal fractures, a fractured right hand, an injured right lung and multiple lacerations. The many injuries proved too much for Marrion to overcome. The official cause of her death was listed as pneumonia and pulmonary edema. She was 38 years old.

Ben Luck, 91, Minot, is a double-cousin to Marion. Luck’s father, also Ben, and Clint, the brother of the elder Luck, married sisters Dora and Clara Bookinville. Luck, now a resident of Trinity Homes in Minot, said he actually worked with Marrion at a carnival in Washington state.

“That was a long time ago,” said Luck. “I was 14 or 15 years old, pretty young, and I went to work for them for two or three weeks. They had a little carnival deal of their own.”

Submitted Photo Evelyn Marrion, formerly Daisy Evelyn Luck of Minot, as she appeared in her trapeze act. The photograph was likely taken in the early 1950s.

At the time the former Daisy Luck was not a trapeze performer. She and her husband, Ray Marrion, operated three or four carnival stands, the kind where carnival attendees try their luck at shooting basketballs or throwing darts at balloons.

When the carnival moved out of Washington for places elsewhere on the West Coast, Ben Luck returned to Minot in time for the start of the school year.

It wasn’t until sometime in 1947 that Marrion, now using her middle name of Evelyn rather than Daisy, began acrobatics and trapeze work. She was in her eighth year of performing her high flying act when she suffered her fatal injuries in front of a crowd of horrified onlookers.

Marrion was the daughter of Clint Luck, who was residing in Portland, Oregon, at the time of the fatal fall. At the time of her death Marrion had four sisters who were all living in either California or Oregon. According to her obituary, she also had three surviving family members in Minot. They were two aunts, Mrs. Cora Schmidt and Mrs. Gunder Stenberg, and a nephew, Donald Keyes.

Evelyn Marrion, a former Minot resident, is interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles. It is the oldest and largest cemetery in that sprawling city with over 300,000 interments. Her plot is in a special section known as “Showmen’s Rest,” where 400 carnival workers and circus performers are buried. Among the famous performers resting near her is Hugo Zacchini, a circus daredevil known worldwide as the “human cannonball.”

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