Marie Garrow McCarty June 29, 1918 – Sept. 12, 2021

Marie Delia Garrow was born June 29, 1918, at the old St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore. to Leo Aloysius Garrow and Veva Portwood Garrow. 

The eldest of four children, Marie grew up in southeast Portland and attended St. Stephen Catholic School for all 12 grades. Every summer she vacationed at the home of her Portwood grandparents in Condon, Ore.

In 1929, she was present at the wake of her Garrow grandfather at his Reedville, Ore. home that would later be designated “Masters Century House.” After attending Behnke Walker Business School, Marie worked four years in the catalog buying office of Montgomery Ward. During that time she joined Beta Gamma, a non-academic sorority in which she remained active for the rest of the century.

On December 27, 1941, three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Marie married Vere A. McCarty at St. Stephen Catholic Church. Their daughter was born the following November. Despite housing shortages and crowded trains, Marie and the baby followed Vere to his World War II training locations before he was sent overseas with the Eighth Air Force. After Vere’s discharge, city-girl Marie cooked on a wood stove for harvest and branding crews while Vere and his brother managed the large Cooke Ranch east of Condon. Three sons were born during the Condon years.

In 1952 the family moved to the Salem area, where three more sons were born. Marie made school lunches, baked cookies and pies, ironed white shirts, helped all six sons with their paper routes, and, when she found time to sit down, knitted sweaters and played piano. She volunteered at her children’s schools and with both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. She spent her summers preserving fruits and vegetables and “vacationing” at Camp Pioneer. She joined bridge clubs and started a pinochle club that continued for 50 years. In 1971 she received a Distinguished Service Award from the Volunteer Bureau of Salem for transporting Russian patients to and from the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland.

Marie worked at Highland Elementary School, McNary High School, State Library of Oregon, and Library for the Blind and Handicapped. After retiring from the latter in 1982, Marie volunteered at Salem Public Library and served as docent at Historic Deepwood Estate. She was elected President of Zenith Women’s Club in 1989 and several times co-chaired the Zenith booth at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. She was a long-time member and volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and later joined St. Edward Catholic Church.

Marie and Vere hosted countless dinner parties, garden parties, and card parties, plus a few foreign exchange students. The couple loved ballroom dancing and supporting their children’s endeavors. With a group of special friends, they built a vacation home on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River. Their grandchildren fondly remember climbing pull-down stairs to the attic, which was carpeted by Vere and stocked with mementos saved by a couple who seldom threw anything away. They traveled to all 50 States and 23 foreign countries, visiting family and friends along the way and attending Vere’s Second Air Division reunions, where Marie was thrilled to be photographed with beloved actor Jimmy Stewart.

After Vere’s death in 2002, Marie took over the gardening duties, attended movies and the theater, crocheted hats for Northwest Medical Teams, and wrote her memoirs. She volunteered for 17 years at Keizer Community Library “because I love to read” and was honored in 2016 with the Art Burr Library Champion Award. She continued playing bridge, hosting lively family gatherings, and keeping in touch with everyone from grade school classmates to brand new friends.

All through her nineties, Marie still had a sharp memory and could do arithmetic in her head faster than this writer could find a pencil. She remained healthy, active, and in her Keizer home of 46 years until age 98, when she gave up driving and moved to Mount Angel Towers. Her later years were filled with a mixture of loneliness, meeting new people, playing card games, and accepting help from caregivers, including her family.

Throughout the years, Marie laughed easily and made life fun for others, often thinking up a special treat to brighten someone’s day. A thank you note received by Marie says it well: “It is always SO NICE to be with you. The luncheon party was a real treat. You and Vere give a lift to anyone who comes near you good people. Your happiness — kindnesses — exuberance — jollity — perk up our spirits. GOD BLESS YOU!”

Thanks to the loving care of Mt. Angel Towers and Willamette Valley Hospice, Marie slipped away peacefully on September 12, 2021, surrounded by family. She now lies alongside her husband at Bethel Cemetery in Polk County.

She is survived by her sister-in-law Elaine Garrow; her children Kathleen, Thomas Vere (Kelley), Douglas, David, Paul (Lucia), Kevin (Julie), Charles (Fara); her grandchildren Jina, Amy, Spring, Christine, Dana, Molly, Theresa, Angela, Anthony, Patrick, Phillip, Peter, Piper, Sean, Elias, Tristin; her great-grandchildren William, Aurora, Emerson, Sadie, Aida, Gavyn, Cyrus, Margaux; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Marie would be pleased if you made a memorial contribution to Keizer Community Library or to one of the other organizations mentioned in this obituary.