Maria was born in Winchester, Idaho in 1912 to parents Carl and Georgia Harris, and was one of four sisters. Despite an impoverished and tough childhood, she graduated from Lewiston High School in 1930. She moved to Los Angeles shortly after and worked for department stores, including Bullocks, where she was discovered by a photographer and began a modeling career. After briefly dating a young Ronald Reagan, who was just breaking into movies, Maria met her first husband, Kepler Lewis, an officer in the National Guard. They married in 1940 and moved to San Francisco where she had her first child, Bayan, in 1942. Maria and Kepler divorced after the war. Maria met her second husband, Gerald Carey, in LA in 1947. Gerald's job at a shipping company took them all over the world, and their first child, Nancy, was born in Japan in 1948. Their second child, Peter, was born in Calcutta, India in 1953. They moved to Hong Kong, where Maria excelled at golf and also learned how to paint in a Chinese style on rice paper. The family moved to England in 1960 so that the children could get a better education. Unfortunately, the cold winters did not suit Maria, and she moved back to California in 1963 where she worked first as a seamstress, then later at Stanford University for 15 years. Upon retirement, she bought a mobile home in Paradise, California, where she lived the last 23 years of her life. She enjoyed painting, sewing and feeding the birds. She leaves behind her two sons, Bayan and Peter, and daughter Nancy. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. For a more detailed description of Maria's life, please visit her Facebook page – Maria Josephine Carey. Arrangements entrusted to the Neptune Society of No CA, Chico Branch.
Published in Paradise Post from June 8 to July 7, 2013