Marian Blake Rowe, 81, of Gooding, ID, passed away on May 8, 2021, at her home, after a day surrounded by loved ones, with her loving daughter by her side.
Marian Anita Blake was born on August 3, 1939 to John Luther and Minniella (Parker) Blake in Alhambra, CA. Her brother John Luther Blake II arrived in 1942. Their little family moved back to Louisiana around 1945 and started a sawmill with their Louisiana family. But economics (and probably humidity and mosquitoes) probably played a role in their return to California a couple of years later. In 1952, the family grew with the arrival of a new baby girl, Virginia Blake. As Marian tells it, she wanted to name her little baby sister after her favorite movie star at the time, Shirley Temple, so Virginia then became “Shirley” and that was that.
While growing up in southern California, Marian began her lifelong love of raising animals. She was very involved with 4-H, bringing home purple ribbons for her prize sheep. She owned her first horse while a young girl as well. Her father built a number of corrals, fences, and sheds for her projects.
Except for a year or so of elementary school in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Marian attended schools in California, graduating from Arcadia High School (1957) and then received her Bachelors in Zoology from the University of California Davis (1961). Her love of education and learning continued throughout her life. She also studied for her Masters in Spanish through UCD and later for her Masters in Wildlife Biology through the University of Idaho. She was also a student at the College of Southern Idaho, College of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University. Marian was always looking for opportunities for furthering her education, whether she was building her skills as a teacher or researcher, or starting a new adventure of becoming a realtor, or enhancing her own personal interests in training horses. When she discovered the Study Abroad program at BSU, she was able to incorporate her love of learning with her love of travel by learning Italian in Italy (1997), Chinese in China (1999), and Arabic in Malta (2000).
Marian began her lifelong travels in 1962 when she traveled to Venezuela through the Peace Corp as a Community Developer. That was her first Peace Corps experience. Marian signed up again in 1992, when she went to Morocco, to specialize in Large Animal Husbandry, working with rural dairies to help increase their survival rate of their calves (among other things). But she wasn’t done yet: She surprised us all by joining the Peace Corps for the third time in 2009, to teach English to children and adults living in isolated rural villages in Paraguay.
When Marian wasn’t traveling the world, she often found herself in the classroom. Her first years of teaching were in Esparto, CA where she taught high school Spanish. Over the years, she taught Spanish, English, or science classes to high school students in Hansen, Wendell, Filer, Shoshone, and Gooding. She also thoroughly enjoyed teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to immigrants and refugees through the Vista Volunteer program in the early 90s. One year she even taught at Drake Bay, a resort in Costa Rica. (Her one and only student was the daughter of the Americans who managed the resort.) Marian was always looking for opportunities to combine her skills and passions and she often found them!
Marian also loved the outdoors and the wilderness and the wide-open range whether she was tramping through the forest gathering bear scat for research or helping her friend Wilda bring in cattle. She enjoyed her horses, breeding and training and riding them throughout the years.
In 1961, while a student at UCD, Marian was waiting tables at Baxter’s Café on Donner’s Summit, when she caught the eye of a shy young trucker. No words were exchanged at the time, but he recognized her immediately a few years later, when he met her officially at his brother’s boarding house, where she was renting a room after she had returned to UCD upon her return from Venezuela. James Albert Rowe and Marian Anita Blake were married on August 1, 1964 in Rio Linda, California, and started their lives together in Dixon, California. In 1967, their daughter, Diana Ruth Rowe, was born. Alan Blake Rowe was born in 1968, making their little family complete.
By 1970, they moved to Twin Falls, ID where James began hauling cattle for Wagner Transportation and Marian began working toward her dream of a little ranch of their own. They flipped their little house in Twin Falls and bought a few acres in Hansen, ID where Marian got to work with repairing and remodeling. A few years after that, they flipped it again and found Marian’s ideal little 40 acres in Gooding, ID near Dog Creek Reservoir. They brought their small herd of cattle and horses to Gooding and Marian began building her little dream ranch. Even though life took unexpected turns in the future, “the ranch at Dog Creek” always remained as the time where she felt her dreams had been fulfilled.
While the first half of her life had been filled with education, teaching, and raising her family, Marian focused her second half of her life with more traveling. Due to her arthritis, she was unable to enjoy the cold winters in Idaho so she would save her frequent flyer miles to spend the winter months in warmer regions. She was quite happy to live in a simple little cottage (as long as it was clean) near the water so she could swim. Her ability to live life simply and frugally allowed her many opportunities that others could only dream of. She mostly wintered in Costa Rica but would switch things up occasionally with Honduras or other Spanish-speaking countries. All in all, her travels have taken her to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Columbia, China, Mongolia, Tunisia, Malta, England, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Ecuador, Oman, Paraguay, and New Caledonia—and possibly other countries here and there! (We shouldn’t discuss her clandestine sneak trip to Cuba back in the day when Americans would be arrested if caught!)
Marian would combine her love of travel with her deep love for her grandchildren by sharing travels with them. She tried to take all of them on their own unique excursion but sadly and to her dismay, her health in her later years prevented the younger children from having the same opportunities as the older ones. She felt it was so important that the children were all exposed to and developed an appreciation for traveling and different cultures… and that truly is a life-long gift from “Grandma Camel”.
Marian also was passionate about her Southern roots. Even though she physically only resided in Louisiana for a few years as a child, she felt a deep and powerful connection to the area and her family. She wanted her grandchildren to feel it as well and worked hard at sharing the history of the family with them. In 2019, Marian brought all of the grandchildren to Louisiana to walk through the family timberland, swim in the same creek as their grandmother did as a child, and hear the stories while actually being in the home of family who had passed long ago. The additional bonus of that gift was the bonding and love that grew even stronger among her six grandchildren, which can be considered Marian’s greatest achievement and legacy.
Marian was preceded in death by her cherished son, Major Alan Blake Rowe, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Marian is survived by her former husband but forever friend, James A. Rowe of Twin Falls; their daughter, Diana Rowe of Gooding; her treasured daughter-in-law, Dawn Rowe of Yucca Valley; her precious granddaughters (Destiny Pauls and Caitlin Rowe); beloved grandsons (Zachary Pauls, Levi Pauls, Nathan Pauls, and Blake Rowe); her brother John (Ginny) Blake; and sister Shirley (John) Sell.
A memorial service will be held at Mountain View Cemetery in Fairfield on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the “Major Alan Rowe Scholarship”, c/o Foundation College of Southern Idaho, PO Box 1238, Twin Falls, ID 83303-1238.
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