Maria M. Lemley

1968 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Maria M. Lemley Obituary
Maria M. Lemley October 12, 1968 - September 27, 2013 Maria Michele Lemley entered eternal rest on September 27, 2013 in the loving arms of both of her parents after a short but hard fought battle with ovarian cancer. Maria was not a stranger to battles or adversities. She was born in Taft, California at Westside District Hospital, and at 8 months old was diagnosed with hydrocephalous and underwent surgery for an insertion of a shunt. At approximately 2 years of age UCLA diagnosed her with cerebral palsy, thus, starting the long road of various therapies to enable her to be as strong and productive as possible. Through it all her spirit shone brightly and her love of life was evident in her never ending struggle to achieve the goals she set for herself. In 1982, Maria and her family moved to Littleton, Colorado where she attended regular junior and senior high school classes, graduating from Heritage High School in 1987. She was inducted into the National Honor Society during her high school career. Maria attended Holy Spirit Lutheran Church during her years in Colorado, and she was confirmed by the late Pastor Jim Rasmussen on September 23, 1984. During her confirmation studies she was asked, "In your wildest dreams what would you like to do?" Her reply was, "To be able to go wherever I want in my wheelchair." Following her graduation from high school, Maria and her family moved back to Bakersfield where she began attending Bakersfield College. She graduated with her Associates of Arts degree in May 1996. She continued auditing several classes at BC to pursue her education. After Maria finished college, she filled her days with researching her family's history. She loved genealogy and worked tirelessly at updating her family tree. Maria's other enjoyments included reading, surfing the web, shopping with friends, going to the movies, and watching television shows like Days of Our Lives. She wouldn't turn down a good card game at home, a trip to Las Vegas, or even a quick trip to an Indian casino either. Sundays were spent at church and singing during the service in her own unique voice. Maria's love of history together with her love of traveling instigated several trips with her parents. The first set of trips were by plane and included tracing the Civil War from Washington DC to the Carolinas and also flying to Hawaii. It was when Maria experienced cruising by ocean liners when she really began to see the world. To name a few of Maria's adventures is to include the West Coast of Mexico, Bahamas, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, the East Coast of Mexico (the Mayan Ruins), and the Mediterranean, which included Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Turkey and the beautiful island of Santorini . The highlights of these various locations included seeing the Acropolis in Greece, the Vatican in Rome, and Ephesus in Turkey viewing the amphitheater where the Apostle Paul preached to the citizens of Turkey. With the passage of The Education of All Handicapped Children Act PL 94-142 in 1975 (renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990), Maria had the legal right to attend regular education classes. This was very important to her and she became an advocate for all children with disabilities. Maria was active in a local organization whose goal it was to make sure there were curb cuts, automatic doors, bathroom accessibility etc. for people in wheelchairs; thereby, making public access readily available to all citizens. She took part in Special Olympics and she also rode a specially built bicycle to raise funds for another cause dear to her heart. Her smile was infectious and the joy of her laughter was immeasurable. There was nothing better to her than getting lost or making a wrong turn to get a good laugh. Her inability to walk or to talk did not keep her from being able to communicate. Maria was never afraid to express her feelings, whether it be by way of the computer, portable "letter board," or expressive eye contact. Maria was quick to make friends. She was able to capture the heart of those she came in contact with simply by being who she was and doing what came naturally to her. That is apparent in the number of people she touched throughout her life. Maria is survived by her mother and father, Janice and John , sister Marlana, many aunts, uncles, cousins and innumerable friends. Maria's family wishes to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, calls, emails, Facebook messages, and visits during Maria's 21 day stay in the hospital. A special thank you goes to Pastor Jon Christenson, Pastor Donella Silveira, and the entire ICU staff at Mercy Hospital. A celebration of Maria's life will be held Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 10:30 am at Redeemer Lutheran Church 2525 Belle Terrace Bakersfield, California 93304. Pastor Jon Christenson will officiate. Lunch will be provided afterwards in the church Fellowship Hall. Donations can be made to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, 14 Penn Plaza Suite 1710, New York, NY 10122 or www.ocrf.org in her honor. www.bakersfield.com/obits
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Oct. 2, 2013
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