Maryanna Elizabeth Rice Bowers passed peacefully on August 13, 2020, a month and a half before her 97th birthday. She left this world surrounded in the loving embrace of all who knew her. She was an inspiration. Elegance personified. A giver of her heart, a giver of her time and attention. She understood people. She knew how to care for everyone. And she did so unabashedly. She was a sharp and sage confidant who could see through to the heart of any circumstance, an endless fountain of wisdom and grace.
Maryanna adored cats like no one else. Cat earrings, statues, calendars and postcards. She’d nearly always had a cat and always swore she would never have another after the heartbreak she would endure at their passing. Without fail though she would end up back at the shelter, rescuing another. Another kitty who had won the jackpot. She would frequently mix up their names, but each earned a unique love and held a special place in heart. Each one provided necessary comfort, solace and joy through the trials and tribulations of a long life, well lived.
Maryanna loved to garden. It was her deepest passion. Her happiest place to be. When guests would come, she would show them around, telling stories of each and every bush, plant, flower and tree. And my oh my, those roses! They were her dear and beloved friends. And if you were an enemy to her plants, you were an enemy to her. Never was she as fierce as when stepping on every snail in sight or cursing the deer and rabbits for having munched her roses and dug up her tulips.
Another passion was traveling. She would regularly spend time with her cousin-in-law Louise Meiere Dunn and her family in Stamford, CT. She also traveled extensively with her daughter-in-law’s parents, Donald and Evelyn (Bee) Quaintance, who lovingly took her in under their wing once she found herself single again. Together they travelled all around the world throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Even later in life, she was always ready to roll her expertly-packed carry-on up the jetway to visit her grown grandson and his family wherever they lived, be it China, Korea, India or Malaysia. No destination was too far for ‘Classy Grandma’ to travel to be with her loves.
Maryanna was the only child of parents George Cleveland (Cleve) Rice and Olga Adelaide Brune Hagedorn Rice, raised in San Francisco and Palo Alto, CA. She attended the University of California, Berkeley before moving to Seattle, Washington with her then husband, Peter Meiere Bowers, where she gave birth to her only son, David Rice Bowers. David and his children and grandchildren were the lights of her life. Her love for them was deep and unconditional. Peter was later stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with the Army Air Force, which brought the family to Ohio. Maryanna spent several years living in Fairborn, OH where she worked as a bookkeeper for the Univis Lens Company.
She worked throughout her life in various roles as an accountant, bookkeeper and personal secretary, most notably for The David and Lucile Packard Foundation where she was hired as their very first employee in 1971, also managing the private estate during David Packard’s appointment as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. Later in life, she spent time volunteering at American Cancer Society Discovery Shops. Her final role was that of accountant and general assistant to her dear friend, Sylvia Gray, at her shops Cottage Green and Atelier Gray in downtown Los Altos. There she also met and worked with Elizabeth (Liz) Weigen. These two women became Maryanna’s angels in the last years of life. The most cherished of friends.
Maryanna had and was the best of friends. Once she made a friend, she kept them dear to her heart for life. She would go out of her way to pay a visit to those who were ill or down on their luck. She was the final custodian for countless friends and family members whom she outlived, including her cherished second husband, Joseph Chaplis, her true love who passed in 1984.
Maryanna and Joe lived in Carmel Valley, running the Joseph’s Oak Delicatessen and Bookkeeping Service. After Joe passed, Maryanna moved to a beautiful home nestled in the trees of Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, NV where she stayed for many years. Eventually she moved to Monterey, then into an in-law cottage of her son’s and daughter-in-law’s in Los Altos Hills, CA where she spent 18 beautiful years before her transition into senior care facilities. The last of these was the Baltic Sea Manor in Pittsburg, CA where she found peace and great care once again in a loving home environment.
Maryanna is survived by her son and daughter-in-law David Rice Bowers and Barbara Quaintance Bowers of Los Altos Hills, CA; her grandchildren, Nancy Bower Bachana and her husband Joseph Bachana, of New York City, NY; David Rice Bowers II and his wife Marisa Foss Bowers of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Diana Quaintance Bowers of San Francisco, CA; and by her great grandchildren, Cecilia Bachana, Roxanne Bachana, Wilder Bowers and Zachary Bachana. She is also survived by her honorary daughter, Diane Comey and her husband Wing Ng.
No service is currently scheduled due to the Covid pandemic. The family is instead organizing private commemorations as they are able.
Donations may be made in loving memory of Maryanna either to the American Cancer Society or to the charity of your choice.