Marion Leigh Baldwin Lewis, known as Mal to her family and many friends, died March 5 at hospice in Denver following a brief illness. Born March 13, 1925, in San Francisco to Dr. Walter I. and Marion Baldwin, she attended The Bishop School in La Jolla, California and later Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
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Graced with great beauty, style and a wonderful sense of humor, Mal was passionate about the arts and literature; an accomplished painter with a remarkable body of work; an untrained but talented architect; a lover of parties; a world traveler and linguist; and a horrific cook and housekeeper. While she was a bit of a snob about speech and manners, Mal acquired friends from all walks of life, valued silliness, wore blue jeans and always welcomed messes.
Over the course of six decades, Mal shared her married life with two fine men. She left Vassar College just prior to graduating to marry William C. Dabney Jr., with whom she raised two sons. She later married John David Lewis, with whom she shared 35 years of world travel and a passion for bridge, painting and sculpture.
When they weren't exploring some other far corner of the world, Mal and Dave divided their time between their homes in Denver and Gallatin Gateway.
Mal's friends and family will remember her sense of fun, her style and elegance, her generosity, her spirit, her strength and her honesty. She was curious about everything and loved the adventure of exploring different cultures and places. She faced illness and adversity without complaint. Her beauty and aristocratic bearing left an indelible impression on everyone she met. For every moment of her 85 years, Mal truly lived.
Mal was preceded in death by a brother, Page Baldwin. She is survived by her husband, John David Lewis; a brother, Walter I. Baldwin Jr., of Grass Valley, Calif.; two sons, Page Dabney (Cyndi) and William C. ("Dab") Dabney III (Susan), both of Bozeman; a stepdaughter, Carla Rister (Rick), of Missoula; a stepson, Warren Lewis, of Albuquerque, N.M.; and four grandchildren, Samantha Dabney, Eliza Dabney, Alex Dabney and Cameron Dabney.
Cremation has taken place. Arrangements for a service celebrating Mal's life are pending. Memorials in her name may be made to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, P.O. Box 7021, Bozeman, MT 59771-7021.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 10, 2010