Marieann Martineau Watkins passed away November 21, 2013 at her home in Blanding, UT, at the age of 74.
Marieann was born February 10, 1939 in Colonia Chuichupa, Chihuahua, Mexico, to Bernard Joseph and Helen Hawkins Martineau. Marie was the third of their 11 children and the oldest daughter, so she learned to care for and watch over others from an early age, especially when a pressure cooker of orange juice blew a seal and scalded her mother.
Marie took over as much of the household as she could while her mother struggled to regain full use of her arms.
When the children were old enough to go to school, they moved down the mountain to Colonia Juarez so they could attend Juarez Academy.
Marie graduated from the Academy in 1958. She’d spent a year battling rheumatic fever, so she graduated a year behind the rest of her classmates.
After graduation, Marie came to the United States to live with her Grandmother in Mesa, AZ. She worked several years to earn money toward her mission.
She mentioned being so excited to get her first paycheck that she went out and bought a bar of chocolate. She ate the entire thing and got sick.
She hadn’t realized that baking chocolate needs a little help before it’s edible. This may be why her daughters all have secret chocolate chip stashes in their kitchens!
She also took the opportunity to go with a group to tour LDS church history sites. While preparing for her mission, she mentioned to some of the girls in her Single Adult ward that she’d love to be a “pen pal” with a currant or returned missionary, as she’d like to have some guidance as to what to expect on her mission.
One of the girls, Bertha Watkins, mentioned that she had a brother, Richard (Dick), in Germany in the Army who had just returned from a mission to the New England states.
Since he had absolutely no objection whatsoever to writing to a cute little blue-eyed blonde, Marie started writing to him, and with his guidance and encouragement served faithfully in the Spanish American Mission in Texas.
When she returned from her mission, Richard came down to Mesa to meet her, and two weeks later, they were engaged.
Dick and Marie were married in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple on February 12, 1964, and Marie became a citizen of the United States on February 16, 1976. She worked very hard to achieve this goal, and was always proud of her citizenship.
As a “stay-at-home” mother, not only did she parent her own children, she “mothered” many others so their parents could work or attend school. As her children grew older, she worked outside her home, beginning with the Nursing Home and ending as a paraprofessional in the Special Ed Preschool at Blanding Elementary, but she always made people feel welcome in her home.
Her first question was usually, “Are you hungry?” quickly followed by, “Let me fix you something to eat!”
She and Dick then fulfilled a lifelong goal of serving a mission together in Denver, Colorado, where they spent 22 months microfilming documents in the basement of the Capitol building. They had many adventures together during this time, including Marie’s involuntary participation in a rally to legalize marijuana.
In her defense, she had no idea why all those nice young people carrying signs were gathered around, and she was on her way to the bus stop, so she took a direct path. Dick prudently kept to the outside of the group while ensuring he wasn’t too far away.
After Dick and Marie returned home, they were called to serve in the Monticello Temple, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Marie is survived by her husband Richard, her children Amy Kensley of Monument Valley, UT; Lloyd (Janette) of LaVerkin, UT; Harley (Amy) of Morgan, UT; Lois Walker (Shane) of Snowflake, AZ; Jan Podris (Gary) of Spokane, WA; and Ivy Kropf (Jared) of Green River, WY; along with 24 grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews who love her and will miss her very much.
Card of thanks
The family is very grateful to everyone for all the love and support given to us during this difficult time: to the Blanding EMS team, to Dr. Fisher and the Blue Mountain Hospital, to the Blanding Eighth Ward, and especially to Danny Palmer. Thank you.