Patricia Jean Riley Maris, best known for her passion of community service and love for animals, passed peacefully on Dec. 2, 2018, a few days shy of her 92nd birthday.
Born Dec. 8, 1926, in Seattle, Washington, to Harry and Alyssee Riley, Patricia spent her childhood years between Seattle and San Francisco. She attended Mission High School graduating in 1943. Loving the city life, she found her first job at the San Francisco Airport at Mills Field.
Her fondest childhood memories were spent in Smith River with her aunt and uncle, Isabelle and Bill Buckner. They owned a car dealership on the corner of Fred Haight and First Street. By design this is when she met and formed a friendship with Paul Maris, who would later become her husband. They married Feb. 5, 1949.
Patricia moved from San Francisco and planted new roots on the Maris farm in Smith River. She quickly became involved in many community and social activities, making what would become lifelong friends in Young Mothers Club and helping form the Del Norte County Farm Bureau. Patricia is on record as the longest standing Farm Bureau member in California.
In the years following, they had two daughters, Becky and Kathleen. Patricia took pride in raising her girls and is fondly remembered by their classmates for hosting the best parties and her homemade treats. She proudly accepted the name of “Nana” from her two grandsons and later graduating to the title of “Great-Nana.”
Widowed in 1974, Patricia stepped into the “owners” seat and managed the family dairy farm. She quickly learned the milking schedule, how to make hay and administer vaccines and develop a watchful eye during calving season.
Always up for an adventure, Patricia enjoyed traveling with friends. San Francisco with her daughters and joining in the archeological dig in Altaville in 1999 were among her most referred to events.
Her later volunteer groups included developing a Widowed Persons support group, Community Assistance League, Smith River Heritage Association and Smith River Cemetery Association. Her dedication to the community sparked her to co-author and publish “The History of the Smith River Pioneer Cemetery,” a guide to the cemetery and the history of its occupants.
In lieu of flowers, please continue her legacy in donating to one of the following: Humane Society of Del Norte: www.humane-societyofdel-norte.org P.O. Box 1526, Crescent City, CA 95531; Smith River Cemetery Association: P.O. Box 762, Smith River, CA 95567; or Oregon State University Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Fund: c/o OSU Foundation, 4238 SW Research Way, Corvallis, OR 97333
To quote the hospice nurse “Until you’re the one holding the entire tray of cookies, you have no idea of the challenges and decisions you will face.”
An enormous thank you to everyone who helped our family through this journey, friends who visited and offered rides, the countless hours of caregiving that shortened the distance when we were unable to be with our mom.
Arrangements for a graveside service have been made through Wier’s Mortuary, for Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at 11 a.m. at the Smith River District Cemetery. A Celebration of life will be held on Feb. 16, 2019, from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Woodhaven Lower Lake Ranch, 350 Lower Lake Road, Crescent City.
With gratitude, the Maris Family.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel.
Please sign the family’s online guestbook at wiersmortuary.com
— Submitted by Wiers Mortuary Chapel