Marion Betty McCauley passed away in her home on September 11, 2021, at the age of 100, only three weeks after her daughter and son-in-law from Germany were finally able to visit her again after an absence of a year and a half, due to the pandemic.
Marion was born on August 9, 1921, in the Free State of Danzig (then German, now the Polish city of Gdansk), where she and her family lived until 1945 and where Marion attended college, graduating with a degree as a translator for English and Spanish. In March of 1945, the family fled from the Russians, taking with them only what they could carry, and leaving with the last ship. Because her mother was half-Jewish, Marion and her entire family had been persecuted by the Nazis. And since Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933, they had lived in constant fear of being deported. These traumatic experiences troubled Marion all her life.
The family then moved to Bavaria, where one of Marion’s father’s brothers lived.
In Selb Marion worked as a court interpreter at a court that also dealt with claims filed by displaced persons. Through her work she met her first husband, Col. John R. Carter, who was serving as a D.A. in Selb. In 1948 they moved to New Jersey, where Marion's only child, Margo Arleen Buechler-Carter, was born some years later. A few months after that, Marion became an American citizen.
After her separation from her husband in 1952, Marion moved back to Germany to be with her family. She worked as the assistant to the Commander of Rhein Main Air Force Base, where she met her second husband, Lt. Col. Clarence Vernon McCauley (Mac). In 1959 they moved to Phoenix with their respective children from former marriages. While living in Phoenix, Marion enjoyed working for Lufthansa and doing English/German translations for a German-American Jewish lawyer specializing in representing clients who filed claims against the German government for their persecution under the Nazi Regime. In 1965 Marion and Mac decided to move to California and fell in love with Sonoma, where they built their house in the Diamond A Ranch. Their house on White Oak Drive was to become Marion's home until she passed away.
All her life, Marion loved horseback riding and had two horses of her own on her property until 1992. She also took part in several equestrian events at Diamond A. And because she also adored cats and dogs, she had eight cats and ten dogs over the years. Every stray animal found a home at White Oak Drive!
When Marion and Mac moved into their house in 1966, there were only thirteen families living in the neighborhood, so every newcomer was heartily welcomed. For years, Marion was strongly engaged, among other things, in organizing and throwing welcoming parties, setting up a Diamond A telephone directory, and working for the recreation center. She also very much enjoyed going to the opera, attending meetings of the Retired Officers' Club, and hosting parties for friends.
After her husband passed away in 1992 and until 2017, Marion managed to live on her own, remaining in her home with the help of good friends who supported her in every way. But after breaking down from congestive heart failure in March of 2017, she had to agree to accept more help at home.
Throughout all these years in America, Marion kept in close contact with her family in Germany and went back regularly to visit them. Several of her German family members also came over to visit her. Yet again and again Marion stressed until the very end that she didn't want to move back to Germany, a country which hadn't treated her well. She said that America had welcomed her (think: Statue of Liberty) and she wanted to die in her own house on American soil. Her wish was fulfilled.
Marion will always be in the hearts of her daughter, Arleen, her son-in-law, Werner, two sisters-in-law, several nephews, her niece and all their family members, as well her deceased husband's family.
A memorial will be held at Duggan’s Mission Chapel on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 12 noon The inurnment will take place some time later at the Presidio.
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