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Marie Louise Barr Gravink
"Nana," to many, Marie Louise Gravink left this earthly existence on Thursday, June 13, 2013. She passed peacefully in the home that she, her husband and children built 58 years ago. Born in Esparto, on Oct. 1, 1923, to Charles Corbly and Wilhelmina Barr, Marie felt pride in the fact that she was the daughter of a pioneer Capay Valley family. After graduating from Esparto high school, Marie moved to the big city of Woodland where, while walking down Main Street one afternoon, she heard but ignored, the wolf whistle coming from a good looking Wisconsin transplant boy. Persistence prevailed on the part of the Wisconsin whistler and in 1945, Marie and Glen H. Gravink were married.
As a wife and mother, Marie put all the Donna Reeds of the world to shame. She was the housewife extraordinaire. Her artistic talents were as admirable as her talents as a homemaker. An empty canvas could be transformed into a life like image through her skillful hands. She won may "best in shows" when entering her masterpieces in local and state fairs over her lifetime. But she never offered any of her creations for sale. Though her painting gift was a source of pride for her and her family, so too was her mastery of the piano keys. From Beethoven to Beatles, she could pick out whatever tune was requested. Many gatherings of family and friends included a session around Nana at the piano.
In her 89 years of life, Nana was fortunate in being able to travel to many parts of the world, but her favorite retreat was closer to home in Lake Almanor. Since 1980, when a cabin was secretly purchased by Glen as a Christmas surprise for his wife, "the cabin" has been a precious haven for Nana and her family and friends.
After Glen was abruptly taken from her in 1983, Nana found comfort and security in being an important part of her grand children's lives and was ever present for every recital, contest, science fair or wherever she was needed. It was just understood that Nana would "be there." And she was, this same comfortable reliability was shared not only with family, but also with friends. With Nana's passing go secrets promised never to be whispered.
Nana was an animal lover seeing character in every creature. She had precious pets over her lifetime, but most recently adored Lambchop, the shelter dog who brought to her unconditional love in the last years of her life.
Obituaries tend to canonize people. Nana was not a saint. Saints don't curse nor sip vodka and water (just a splash), and they probably don't gather lots and lots of STUFF. But Nana was one of the good ones on this Earth. She will be missed by many. If you knew or loved Nana, please know that you are welcome to join in her graveside service at the Capay Cemetery at 11 a.m., Friday, June 21. There will be a picnic-style reception at the cemetery following the service. We regret that we will not be able to offer a piano concert by Nana.
Marie was preceded in death by Glen H. Gravink, the husband she never replaced; Thomas Richard Fertado, Jr., grandson; and Murray, her precious cat for 18 years. She is survived by her brother Charles Harrison Barr of Cameron Park, daughters Glynette "Tuni" House (Todd), Apache Junction, Ariz., Lynea Knutsson of Park City, Utah, and Woodland, and Karl Goran Knutsson of Woodland; and grandchildren Nicole Deputy (Dale) of Bountiful, Utah, Karlee Hickman (Mark) of Memphis, Tenn., Kristen Vann (Jason) of Folsom, and Patric Knutsson of Los Angeles; and great-grandchildren Nicolas and Andrew Deputy, Molly Jane Hickman, Amelia and Natalie Vann and one more on the way in the Hickman family.
Published in Daily Democrat from June 20 to July 9, 2013