April 29, 1918 — Feb. 6, 2021
My mother wanted me to be brief on this part of the assignment. If you knew my “Mudder,” you knew she loved to be the Queen Bee, and was truly a force of nature.
Some of her songs, quotable quotes and one-liners included: “To thine own self be true.” — Shakespeare
“Accent the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-Between!” sung to the tune of Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers.
She loved Voltaire’s wisdom: “The pursuit of pleasure must be the goal of every rational person.” And of course, Coco Chanel’s understanding: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
So what were her super powers? She was a good sport, flexible and a straight arrow. What did she believe was her greatest asset? Patience … patience can be a bitter seed, but it yields rrrrrrrrich fruits!
When asked what she attributes her longevity to, she easily shares: Good genes, red wine, dark chocolate, being with the ones you love, great friends and having fun!
Marion was born April 29, 1918, in Denver, Colorado, to Marion Elizabeth and Donald Twiss. The Spanish flu, one of the deadliest influenza pandemics, was raging. Marion’s father was a pharmacist and her grandpa, Dr. Noble Macomber, had to deal with this deadly health issue, which did not have a vaccine to come to the rescue. The Spanish flu had to burn itself out, but not before killing between 50 and 100 million people worldwide.
Marion’s mother had been plagued with a serious heart condition, and died at 42, leaving her at age 13, and her older brother Stanley Craig, 17, in the midst of the Great Depression. Her father remarried within six months, believing Marion needed a mother. Her brother enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Marion rarely discussed her heartbreaking youth. She chose to make the best life for herself. She graduated from North Denver High School and enrolled in the University of Denver. She excelled at writing, sports, dancing and all of the social skills around college life.
She loved her life, and wanted to find her perfect soul mate. She met Mr. Perfect, always calling him the Big Man on Campus! Walter Pershing Blake, a three-sport letterman, all years, smart, 6 feet 2 inches, eyes of blue, great dancer and a veterinarian student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
She transferred to Colorado State so they could be close. They married May 27, 1941, at half past four, the day after he graduated. She always referred to their perfect relationship of 55 years.
Marion and Persh joined his father’s veterinary practice in Greeley, Colorado, just after they were married. They had a short assignment at the University of Missouri, where Persh was a professor of medicine and surgery. They started their family and had three beautiful girls.
They wanted to be in a warmer climate, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1954. Marion raised her three girls while developing her championship golf game and master’s quality bridge game.
In 1963, the Blakes moved back to Greeley, Colorado, to take over his father’s practice. Marion took on a whole new role in the family. She cared for the kids, managed the household and became a surgical assistant and office manager for the solo practice.
In 1975, they retired and moved to one of their beloved areas, Estes Park, Colorado. From their little cabin they could look down into the village and see where they used to meet and date during the summers at Trout Haven.
In the 1980s, they were drawn back to the warmth of the sunshine in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. More deserved time with Mr. Perfect dancing, swimming, golf and bridge, along with the delight of their three daughters and three grandchildren.
More hardship came into Marion’s life in 1996 and 1997. She lost the love of her life, her husband of 55 years, followed by the crossing of her middle daughter, Judy, to cancer, at age 49.
She was encouraged, and made her last move to Seaside in 1998 so she could be close to her youngest daughter, Mary. Her oldest daughter, Marny, and her husband, Paul, also were drawn to the beach and to be near this most remarkable and resilient woman. She was living with Marny and Paul when, in 2009, Marny died of cancer, and Paul, in 2010, died of a broken heart due to the loss of the love of his life.
Marion had always had the goal of living to be 100. Not only did she reach that goal, Seaside Mayor Jay Barber got the opportunity to proclaim April 29, 2018, Marion Elizabeth Blake Day. To top that, on her 102nd birthday, a drive-by community parade saw her become an honorary detective for the Seaside police!
She was still kicking butt, playing competitive duplicate bridge three days per week, up until March 4, 2020, when we all were quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary moved into Marion’s house in 2012, and they and their beloved four-legged friends lived happily together until Marion’s peaceful crossing Feb. 6, 2021, just a couple of months before her 103rd birthday.
Marion was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. W. P. Blake; Judy Wagner, her middle daughter; and Marny Philippon, her oldest daughter.
Her survivors include Mary Blake, daughter; grandchildren, Kristi Skiba, Laura Warren and Jesse Blake; and great-grandchildren, Bridgette and Hayden Skiba and Brandon Blake Short.
My Mudder wanted to live forever! You could help her do that by keeping her spirit alive in your heart, memory and stories. Always remember to love your mother!
A special thank you to the caring hospice team who gave such good compassionate care to us, and helped my mother cross at home, in the most beautiful and sacred space.
We will have a party to celebrate Marion in the fall, when it’s safe for us to gather. Until then … my Mudder would want you to know she’s happy and dancing with the love of her life. She wishes you all aloha, and happy trails to you!
Please, no flowers. If you would like to celebrate Marion, please consider a donation of your time, talents or treasure to your favorite cause or to the Clatsop County Animal Shelter.
Miss Me — But Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little — but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me — but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends you know,
Bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me — but let me go.
Hughes-Ransom Mortuary is handling the final arrangements.