Marion Ell Owens Heckenlively
Marion Heckenlively slipped quietly away on February 2, 2013, in Newport, Wash., following a bout with pneumonia. She was ready to rejoin her beloved husband, Clarence, who preceded her in death last June.
She was born Marion Ell Owens on December 8, 1928, in the tiny East Texas Panhandle town of Mobeetie. The second-youngest of eight children born to Thomas and Gertrude Owens, she grew up on the family farm and attended Mobeetie High School, where she excelled athletically in basketball and softball. She graduated with the Class of 1946.
Shortly after graduation she moved to Lemoore, Calif., where she worked for Dr. Floyd Lees and married Alfred Ramos. The couple divorced soon after the birth of their daughter, Toni, in 1954. Marion moved to Oak View and went to work at Rains Department Store in Ojai.
She married Clarence "Heck" Heckenlively in 1957 and they moved to Ventura, where the family grew over the next decade with the births of sons, Steven, Chuck, Jim and Erik. She also helped raise her stepson, Danny. The family returned to Oak View after the birth of their youngest son.
Taking care of her children was Marion's full-time job for several years, but once they were in school she entered the field of nursing, working first at St. Joseph's Convalescent Hospital in Ojai and later as a private home-care nurse for a family in Santa Barbara.
Marion loved the outdoors and shared Heck's hobbies of rock- and bottle-collecting. Weekends often found the family searching local beaches and bluffs for petrified whale bone or Indian beads, or exploring the deserts and ghost towns of Southern California and Nevada in search of agate or old glassware.
She was a member of the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society for many years, and created several award-winning pieces of lapidary work. She was a "tomboy" her entire life, and proud of it. She loved to camp and fish, and was a wiz at organizing food and clothing for a week in the Sierras for eight people. But she was also well-versed in the domestic arts: she was a talented seamstress; a great traditional Southern cook (no one could beat her fried chicken, biscuits and gravy or peach cobbler); she crafted small, delicate crocheted ornaments and large, ornate macrame pieces; and she loved her flower garden, especially her prized "pee-OH-nies."
Marion suffered a brain aneurysm in 1966 that nearly took her life. She astounded the doctors, who said she wouldn't make it: she not only survived, but eventually regained limited use of her right arm and leg, then learned to compensate sufficiently with her left to pass her driver's test and return to work.
Marion and Heck retired in 1988 and moved from Southern California to 10 rustic acres near the small community of Oldtown, in northern Idaho. She loved the beauty, the isolation, and the snowy winters. She endured further serious health challenges in the last decade of her life, yet she never lost her optimism, her resilience or her sense of humor. She never indulged in self-pity. It took very little to fill her heart with joy: visits from her children and grandchildren, and such simple pleasures as sitting outside in the sunshine or going for long drives through the countryside.
In addition to her children and their spouses, Marion is survived by her stepdaughters, Jill and Judith; 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. A private service will be held in California at a later date.
Headed to Catalina on her Honeymoon with Heck
Love the red lipstick!
With her sister Mick. Those two were TROUBLE!!
The girls loved Grandma Marion!