Marion R. Layton was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a daughter of the late Charles Henry and Emma Jane Welshans Layton. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and received her master's degree from Ohio University. A teacher at Parkersburg High School for many years, Ms. Layton was actively involved in the community. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, the Ester Circle and Delta Kappa Gamma, a teacher's honorary. She was also a member of the Parkersburg Woman's Club and the Humane Society of Parkersburg, and she held membership in national, state and county retired teachers' organizations. Ms. Layton was a member of the First United Presbyterian Church.

The Marion R. Layton Memorial Fund was created through a bequest from the estate of Marion R. Layton. To honor her, the Foundation established an unrestricted fund in her name. The fund provides grants annually to support the charitable needs of the region.