January 1, 1929 – February 3, 2016 Marie J. Levens, born to Southern Pacific Railroad employee L. J. Kinney and his wife Jean, was the first baby born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1929. The Chamber of Commerce gave her mother practical baby items and presented Marie with a tiny baby ring that fit her perfectly. That ring now dangles from a charm bracelet alongside other remembrances of eight decades of a charmed life. The bracelet, family snapshots, and scraps of fabric saved from years of sewing for her family – most stitched into quilts for her adult children – show Marie as active and curious, blessed with generosity of spirit and grace under fire. Over the years, she added travel charms to her bracelet: from Germany, a cuckoo clock, a chimney sweep, and a tiny beer stein; Delft Dutch shoes and a windmill from Holland; a sterling silver tank from the Officers’ Wives Club at Fort Knox, KY; and a San Francisco cable car. A charm of the seagull statue in Salt Lake City recalls the last cross-country trip with her first husband, Ralls C. Acker, Jr. A pearl encircled by gold wire recalls a trip with her second husband, Al, to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. At Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA, Marie was a majorette and baton twirler, teaching twirling to younger children. Marie also joined the yearbook staff and went on to major in journalism at San Jose State College. Marie met her first husband-to-be while he attended school on the G.I. Bill. Though writing was always Marie’s passion, she also employed other esoteric talents such as working as a magician’s assistant, but fortunately decided not to pursue a career that might result in bisection by chain saw. It was not uncommon at the time for college girls to earn an “MRS” degree instead of a Bachelor’s, which she did, and over the next eighteen years Marie displayed a knack for logistics, resilience, and good humor, raising happy children in the United States and Europe with her Army officer husband. When her first marriage ended, Marie went to work at Westinghouse Corporation in Sunnyvale, CA, and was quickly promoted from an administrative job to a technical position usually filled by engineers. She met her second husband, Elbert E. “Al” Levens, at Westinghouse. They married in 1971 and built a serene weekend home in the foothills of California’s Gold Country. After retirement, Marie and Al moved there, planning and enjoying trips to unexplored ghost towns, the Sonora Desert, the East Coast, the Canadian Rockies, and Hawaii. Marie and Al moved to Sun City Roseville in 1997, making new friends and participating in many community activities. After Al predeceased her in 2001, Marie gradually resumed her active life of golfing, billiards, mah-jongg, and bridge. She volunteered for the Sutter Roseville Hospice Thrift Store and supported local and national charities. Marie penned a column for one Sun City club – once a journalist, always a journalist – and served as treasurer for another. Marie entered into eternal rest on February 3, 2016. She is survived by son Robert Acker, daughter Christine Acker, and son-in-law Peter Alvarado, all of Seattle; Douglas Kenyon of Morgan Hill, CA, his wife Kim, and their two children; David Kenyon of San Jose, CA, his wife Nancy, and their daughter; Donald Kenyon of Anchorage, AK, and his wife Lori; niece Barbara Brown of San Jose, her husband Paul, and their two children; Donald Kelsey of Danville, CA, and his wife Collette. Marie will also be remembered by her late husband Al’s adult children: Wendy Levens of Winnabow, NC, and her son; David Levens of Cupertino, CA, his wife Pam, and their daughter. Arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the charity of your choice.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Mar. 20, 2016.