Margaret (Marge) Mayer (McGowan) Obituary (1941 – 2022) – Carlsbad, CA

Margaret (Marge) Regina (McGowan) Mayer

A Full, Loving Life in Service to Others

Marge, also known by more than her five children as Mom, blessed the world with her friendly presence and compassion for eighty years. She was a loving and patient wife to Robert Louis Mayer (“Bob”) for nearly sixty years. An only child who gave love, support, caring, affection and devotion to her five children, and also to her six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was truly meant to be a mother, grandmother, and a matriarch.
She leaves behind: Her eldest son, Michael/Mike, University of San Diego Professor of Botany and Biology, Phd., his wife, Courtney, Point Loma Nazarene University Professor of Art and Graphic Design, and their children Jack and Hallie of San Diego , California;

Her son, Thomas/Tom, MSgt, United States Air Force, retired, currently Air Traffic Control, Department of Defense, Langley AFB, his wife Tracy Mayer, MSgt, USAF, retired, currently Senior Program Manager, DOD Wind Turbine Radar Interference Team , Langley AFB of Yorktown, Virginia;
Tom’s and Tracy’s daughter, Jacque, her husband Chad Stepp, and their son, Parker, of Yorktown, VA; Tom’s and Tracy’s son, Patrick, his wife Allison, and their daughter, Ava, of Richmond, VA

Herson, Timothy/Tim, Historical/Art Interpreter, California State Parks, HSSSHM/Hearst Castle of San Simeon, California;

Her only daughter, Lynn, Procurement Manager for The County of Orange, CA and her husband, Bill (the only son-in-law) Collins, Orange County Probation Officer, retired, their dog Monty (devoted grand-dog) of Oceanside, California;

Her son Stephen/Steve, MSgt, Air Force Reserves, his wife Rachel, Reality Television Producer, their son Caden and daughter Shyla of Woodland Hills, California.

Marge was preceded in death by:
Her beloved “Always and Forever” husband, Robert Louis Mayer, of N. Hollywood, CA, in 2021, her mother, Erma Sarah (Rheingans) McGowan in 1968, and her father, John Francis (“Nick”) McGowan in 1949.
Her Mother, Erma was a devoted single mother and a widow from before Mom’s ninth birthday. Their house was a great slumber party house and her friends visited frequently. Her Uncle Art and beloved Aunt
Dot lived nearby and were an important part of her life. At Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte High School, or “MAD,” as it was nicknamed, Marge was a member of the Homemakers Club and studied secretarial and bookkeeping courses there and later at Mount San Antonio College. She won secretarial scholarships from the National Secretarial Society and Bank of America. She was a member of the Catholic Kyrie Club.

Marge also leaves behind many close friends from over fifty years of involvement at St. Patrick’s Church and School in North Hollywood, CA. Her children attended grades one through eight, where she was a “Room Mother” and schoolyard attendant. She drove and chaperoned field trips. At the church, she sang for decades in the choir directed by Marge Cromie and the Contemporary Choir, directed by Tom Franzak and later, Mark Romano and Jose Payo. In later years, she enjoyed singing in the choir at St. Jane Frances Church in North Hollywood and the Burbank Women’s Chorus. Singing was always a joy for her. She had an additional opportunity in the two plays she was in at St. Patrick’s – “The Music Man” and “Hello Dolly.” She often quoted lines from musicals to make powerful points when speaking in public.

She was a Eucharistic Minister, Parish Council Member, Chaplain for the Patricians Group and attended many prayer groups. An early member of the Charismatic movement, she was not afraid of trying new things or being involved. She gave prayer, moral, and organizational support while accompanying a west coast bus tour with Tom Franzak, one of the first Catholic youth ministers and likely the first vocalist and musician of Contemporary Christian Music directed to youth and young adults within the Catholic Church. She participated in the Conference of Christians and Jews.
She also served at the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese as Administrative Assistant to Father Peter Liuzzi in the Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics/MLGC for nearly ten years. She brushed up on her Spanish lessons to help abandoned Latino and Hispanic Gay and Lesbian youth. She also advocated by speaking at workshops
as the Mother of a Gay son at the Catholic Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, Ca, which she attended for decades. She spent many hours there at the ministry booth, able to inform and educate. She spoke to the East Coast Council of Bishops, and in many seminars and parishes all over Southern California. When the ministry office moved to the Chancery, she never lacked for a lunch invitation from various ministry leaders and LGBT persons that appreciated her compassion and expanded her fame. She was on a first-name basis with Archbishop Roger Mahoney, who had forwarded her letter of protest about the lack of LGBT ministry to Father Peter Liuzzi. With her husband, Bob, she started the first support group for parents of Lesbian and Gay children in the LA Archdiocese.

She was Vice-President of the Los Angeles chapter of the international secular, human rights organization, Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays/PFLAG. The Los Angeles Chapter President and organization co-founder, Adele Starr, wanted her to be president. Marge knew that she was needed more within the Catholic Church and worked both for a few years, eventually focusing on MLGC. She wrote many letters, made phone calls, and spoke to thousands, forming many close and meaningful relationships, especially with parents of LGBT persons.

She helped provide for her family by selling Tupperware, filing checks at Security Pacific Bank, typing catalog orders at JC Penney’s and doing bookkeeping at Elite Interiors.
She taught her children service with countless other examples: Through driving blind persons to their appointments as a volunteer with the Braille Institute, volunteer babysitting for young couples, a lifetime blood donor for the Red Cross as well as being CPR certified. She was Activity Director for North Hollywood Extended Care Convalescent facility. She showed support for friends and family by attending more than two hundred funerals, often bringing casseroles and baked goods.
As a mother, she sewed quilts and robes for her children and Afghans for the couch. She made mother-daughter fashion outfits for church fashion shows with Lynn, patched many a knee on her sons’ corduroys and nurtured them when they were sick. In addition, she cooked, baked, cleaned, chauffeured and brought them camping once per month as a member of a camping club with other families and on family trips in the summer to National Parks and beaches (Yosemite and the beach were her favorites). She sent the boys to St. Vincent de Paul Ranch Camp, attended Forest Home camp with Lynn and attended baseball games and swim meets as well as various other sporting events. She also took her kids to playgrounds, parks, beaches, zoos, libraries and museums. She really made holidays and birthdays special and let her kids have countless pool parties. She took the family pets to Veterinary Care and gave her kids manicures.
Marge and Bob enjoyed being members of the Elk’s Lodge in Burbank. They already had longtime friends that were members and made many more friends. They also had dear friends for many decades from their monthly camping club “The San Fernando Valley Starlighters,” that consisted of about twenty or so families at it’s formation.

Marge spent her last fourteen months at a place in Carlsbad, called Sunrise La Costa, in the Memory Care unit called Reminiscence. She was fifteen minutes away from Lynn and Bill and 30 minutes away from Mike and Courtney, Hallie and Jack. She received frequent visits, every comfort possible, lunch dates and as many overnight visits we were able to arrange. She received frequent phone calls and cards from all of her kids. Her beautiful and cozy room was designed by Courtney and all of her needs were met. Mike took her on all of her medical appointments. Lynn did her bookkeeping and often made her favorite foods and Tom frequently sent packages, many of homemade goodies. Lynn and Courtney took her on shopping sprees and other spontaneous escapes. Apparently, with her memory loss due to Alzheimer’s, Marge forgot that she hated shopping. Sometimes she thought that she was an activity director for elders again, and said that she was working too hard and needed to take some time off. She looked after everyone else at Reminiscence, earning the nickname “Marvelous Marge.”

Lynn organized an 80th birthday celebration for Mom at a beach house in Oceanside for several days last October. (The Covid Pandemic delayed it by a month.) All of her children were in attendance and she had a wonderful time. We had no idea it would be her last one. Mom was interested in Thanatology, a scientific discipline that examines death from many perspectives. She did not seem to fear death and that may have made her passing easier.

She went on to her heavenly reward from her Reminiscence residence, in her sleep at 6 pm on St. Patrick’s Day, which seems appropriate for her. She loved Irish music and the holiday. She also took two trips to Ireland.
Think of her when you dance… which she enjoyed and rarely did enough of, on St. Patrick’s Day, when you hold a baby or play with a grandchild and whenever you eat See’s candy (especially Nuts and Chews) or anything else that suits a sweet tooth. So, the homemade version of Chex Party Mix. (Both of which Tom kept her well supplied with… She had it stockpiled everywhere.)
In addition, when you enjoy Gardenias, Lilies, Gerbera Daisies and Spider Mums and when you watch the musical, “The Sound of Music,” or the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show.
We, her children, will forever miss her and will treasure the precious love, memories and other gifts she gave us. We are grateful to those who supported, protected, encouraged, served and included her and who showed loving kindness to her over the years. She didn’t ask much for herself, but we know that her treasured female friends were a welcome escape and happy and loving diversion from her busy and demanding life.
This is a very tiny list of dear women who were only some of her valued friends: Mary Manocchia, Stella Farrell, Kala Uribe, Linda Smith, Emi Scott, Sue Garcia, Donna Riendeau, Colleen Goodwin, Marge Overstreet, Yvonne Carillo, Pam Sanders , Leah Davidson, Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry, Peggy Olsen, Peggy Stabile, Chris Cooley, Sandy Ingebritsen, her childrens’ friends, and the dozens of others than have passed on before or are unnamed here due to space considerations and expediency. Please, we beg forgiveness if your name was omitted. You know who you are.
Kelley and Trevor Faris, thank you for sharing your kindness and your three sweet boys with our Mother. They were a frequent joy to her in her later years when ye lived next-door.

Blow a kiss to Marge

Published by Legacy Remembers on May 20, 2022.

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