Marianne Clover Stoddard was born July 19, 1957 in Sangley Point, a naval base across the Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines. God must have been smiling when he sent this beautiful baby girl to grateful, joyous teenaged parents Bill and Gale Stoddard.
She was six months old when she boarded with mom Gale, one of the largest naval transport USS Daniel Sultan on February 14, 1958 sailing for America. Dad Bill, with grandparents, Ren and Clover Stoddard heartily met them in San Francisco to bring them to their first US home in Salt Lake City. Before year's end, her parents moved to Salinas, California where she experienced her first snowfall. Then the final move to Southern California where her parents settled in Wilmington until the final move to Buena Park at aged 10 years old.
She attended local schools and excelled in writing. Her first article asking God to give her a sister after being the only child at seven years old, was published with her drawing and her photo. At an early age, she showed exceptional knowledge. She landed a job at aged 25 in finance with General Telephone, then based in Thousand Oaks, before their move to Texas. Family-oriented, she refused to move despite a hefty salary. She attended Santa Monica College majoring in finance and business, at the same time working in many privately owned businesses. As a child, she was very thoughtful and giving to the needy which cost a lot of headaches for her parents as she would give away fur coats and her mom's expensive jackets to the homeless.
Married to Gerald Townes, she settled in her brand new 5-bedroom home outside Salt Lake City. She was overjoyed and the sadness about losing newborn baby Dean dissipated. Thanks to her exceptional gift of intelligence, she landed a job at Kennekut, the biggest copper mine in the world. She also had a real estate license, and an internet business selling tennis shoes in the late nineties. Marianne would write loving letters of gratitude to her parents weekly. She was already a professional internet designer before aged 27. She would design cards and send them with loving words: Do you know that I have the best parents in the world? That I love you so very much. She was known to send hundreds of thank you letters to a lot of people all year. A family habit she learned early on. Her musical and infectious laughter was music to everyone's ears.
She was compassionate, kind and caring, always wanting to help giving you the last shirt on her back and her last dollar. She knew she was a genius, yet she remained truly humble and a loving daughter. She went on to join her dad Bill Stoddard and Grandma Connie, Grandpa Mel and Uncle Ray Benemerito, who lovingly welcomed her in heaven.
Published in The Independent from Aug. 28 to Aug. 29, 2019.