Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight resident, Marie Sawers – You will often find Marie playing her favorite card game Kings in the Corner along with her card playing buddies. If she is not doing that then she’s likely doing her exercises at the Morning Stretch, or playing Balloon Volleyball, or Bingo. Otherwise, she will be crafting away making dozens of crochet items for the annual Carlton Holiday Boutique in December. Not bad for a lady who is ninety-nine years old.
Marie Sawers was born on August 8, 1919 in San Jose California, the firstborn of five sisters to Angelina and Salvatore Megna. Her father Salvatore wanted to name her Marie Concetta after his mother, but Angelina, Marie’s mom was not happy about this so she named her Constance. When Marie was baptized they called her Marie Concetta which Marie went by all her life. When she was forty years old she obtained a copy of her birth certificate and finally found out she had been named Constance.
Her grandparents emigrated from Sicily and had fruit orchards in Berryessa near San Jose. Marie tells a story of when her grandfather had planted a whole orchard of trees which were all torn out of the ground by the local Mafia because he had refused to pay them.
Marie and her sisters all attended St. Patrick’s Catholic School and helped with the rest of the family when it came time to harvest and dry the fruit her grandfather grew. Marie worked in the canneries in the summers as a teen and graduated high school with honors.
Marie married her high school sweetheart, Paul Edward Lee shortly after graduation. They moved to El Cerrito where he worked crafting dinnerware for Tempco Pottery. They were blessed with one daughter, Linda in 1948 who you will often see at Carlton Pleasant Hill visiting her mom. Sadly, Paul passed away at age fifty of a heart attack. Through her grief, Marie realized that she would need to find a job and began working for Montgomery Wards. After five years at the urging of her girlfriends at work, Marie applied for a position as a bank teller for Mechanics Bank which she enjoyed and stayed with for 18 years.
It was during her time working at the bank that she met her second husband, John Sawers. While Marie was helping John with his safety deposit at the bank, John invited her out for a date and they went out dancing at the historic Claremont Hotel in Berkeley and the rest, as they say, is history. John was a good father to Linda and a devoted grandfather to her children. Marie and John were married for twenty-seven years when, unfortunately, John was taken due to heart disease.
Marie and John had many good years and enjoyed traveling to various destinations throughout the world including Italy, Germany, Istanbul, Japan, and Korea. After John’s passing, Marie continued her travels with her daughter, Linda, who still loves to travel. Marie has special memories of a trip she and John took with their two granddaughters driving to Canada, where John was from, and all the special times they enjoyed together. Marie is an inspiration with her positive outlook and active life. She is clever and quick to find the humor in everyday life and can easily make your day with her warm laughter. We are very fortunate to have Marie as a member of our Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill community.
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Written by Mary Ann Ashby