Maria J (Guerrero) Murrison, age 48, passed away on March 19, 2020 at her home in Garden City, KS after a six year battle with cancer. She was born December 3, 1971 in Garden City, KS, the youngest daughter of Nick and Nickolasa (Hernandez) Guerrero.
She grew up in Garden City and was a force to be reckoned with in the sports community, most notably softball and Track and Field. However, she also excelled in volleyball and basketball. Maria graduated in 1992 from Garden City Community College with an Associate degree in Early Childhood. While attending G.C.C.C. she attained the title of All American five times in Track and Field. From 1992-1994 she attended Pittsburg State University, where she continued to excel setting school records in Track and Field. During her two years at Pittsburg State University she garnered All American status 11 times in the shot put, discus, and javelin. In 2012 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Pittsburg State University for her Track and Field accomplishments. Some of her records still stand in High School and in the NJCAA.
Maria graduated from Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in 1995 with a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education. After completing college she had an opportunity to compete professionally but chose to return home and start her teaching career. In 1997 Maria married Scott Murrison in Garden City, KS. She was a teacher in the public schools for 21 years, 18 years with USD 457 Garden City, and three years with USD 216 Deerfield, KS. In 2005 Maria graduated from FHSU with a Masters in Elementary Education and received her Endorsement for ESL along with School Leadership. Teaching was her passion but she also performed duties in the position of Testing Coordinator and District ESL Coordinator with USD 457 Garden City.
Her love of teaching students did not have an age restriction, as she taught all levels from first grade through High School. During her years as a teacher she was also a disciplinary coach for the Garden City Buffaloes and Deerfield Spartans in Track and Field, volleyball, basketball, and softball. Molding the minds of her students was not merely a job it was a privilege she could not afford to fail at. Maria was blessed with a gift of being able to reach many students that others could not, they would routinely show up in her classroom to just visit with her. Students and adults understood that her strict approach of teaching was out of respect and kindness as she hoped that each person she taught or met could attain their goals in life. In her 21 years of teaching, she never forgot a students name, occasionally running into them in the community and always making sure they were continuing to be responsible citizens.
Maria loved her four children ”the mostest” and “to eternity” a phrase they often told each other. She reveled at the opportunity of being a parent and a coach to her children and watched them follow in her athletic footsteps. She made an appearance at the 2019 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where she was able to observe, encourage and support her oldest son on the field as he obtained All American status in the javelin.
Her faith in God was unwavering throughout her life, especially the last six years. She is survived by her husband, Scott Murrison, her children; Leeana Guerrero, Taygen Murrison, Elijah Murrison, and Spencer Murrison all of Garden City. Other survivors are her parents, Nick and Nickolasa Guerrero of Garden City; her brother Juan Guerrero and wife Tammy of Garden City; sisters, Nikki Wiecken and her husband George of Holton; Bobbi (BJ) Guerrero of Topeka; Julie Allred and her husband Wes of Garden City; Billie Waltz and her husband Travis of Fort Gibson, OK. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews and a very special friend, Davey Johnson of Garden City who she loved like a son. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Joe and Delfina Guerrero; Valentin and Guadalupe Hernandez; a nephew Tanner Steele.
Even after being diagnosed with cancer Maria continued to be an inspiration to others and lived life with a smile. She always had words of encouragement for others, especially students she had taught and other cancer patients. She was surrounded by her family as she completed life’s challenging journey.
A private funeral service for family only will be held March 28, 2020, in Garden City, Kansas. Memorial contributions may be given to Pittsburg State University Track and Field in care of Garnand Funeral Home 412 N 7th Street, Garden City, Kansas 67846.