Marya Lee Blackwell
(1948 - 2013)

Marya Lee Blackwell

North Carolina, United States of America
July 17, 1948

California, United States of America
September 11, 2013

Turtles, Gardening, Ribbon Embroidery, Crazy Quilting, Avid Reader
Marya Lee Blackwell, age 65, died Wednesday, September 11th at 6:33pm at the Santa Monica UCLA medical center. After a six month struggle with stage four lung cancer, she passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends at her bedside. Marya is survived by her daughter Maylei Blackwell, her sister Stephanie and her brother Duke, her two cats, Bud and ET (Extra Toe), as well as eight (possibly ten, we haven’t found them all yet) turtles. She will be remembered by a large community of friends and loved ones.

Born on July 17, 1948 in Cherry Point, North Carolina to Robert and Patricia Hayes, Marya was a free spirit who roamed the earth with bare feet. She had a wicked wit and a loving heart. She was known as a committed friend, a great listener, and had a special way of always knowing what to say to someone with a heavy heart. That said, she was disarmingly direct and not one to mince words. Marya was a voracious reader and lover of books. While she had a traumatic childhood, her sense of wonder remained always intact and she believed in the possibility of magic. You could find her most happy out in the garden surrounded by her turtles; going to the movies with her friends; or working on her numerous ribbon embroidery or craft projects with her cats Bud and ET (Extra Toe) looking on. Her personality was like the old saying “Still waters run deep.”

More than most, Marya quietly lived her life in service to others. She volunteered for many years and was later the director of the West Orange County Crisis Hotline, served as a counselor at Casa de Bienvenidos youth runaway shelter, and was a member and officer of Soroptimist International for over thirty years. For these long and dedicated years of service and commitment, she was given the Soroptimist of the Year Award on three different occasions -- the latest award was for 2013. Finally, she loving dedicated decades of her life as a volunteer and later became President of Project Love, an organization that gave Christmas presents to school children and supported education on the Navajo reservation.

Marya should be remembered by what she valued, how she lived her life, and how well she loved each of you.

Her memory lives with you if you carry her in your heart and share what she taught you with the world.

A memorial in celebration of her life is planned for October 19th at 11:30am at the Japanese Gardens on the Campus of California State University, Long Beach with a reception to follow. For more information and to let us know you are coming, please visit:

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (2 entries)
So sorry....
Katie Krauss Galasso (Cousin/sister)
October 8th, 2016
This is the memorial I set up for Marya Blackwell. To sign the guest book, click on the "Sign Guest Book" button below.
Maylei Blackwell
October 1st, 2013
Your Contact Details

Remember to proofread. Once submitted, you will not be able to edit.

Select an icon to go along with your message.
Standard Icon - Default (Free)

Premium Icons - Optional ($5 each)

Adding a premium icon to the memorial helps make your comment standout. You can mark a birthday, leave a flower, or just show the family or friends of the person you are thinking of them. iLasting uses the revenue generated from these icons to continually update the site.



You have 250 characters left.

Share With Family & Friends


to multiple people.

Get Updates

Add your email below to be notified when visitors post to this memorial.

Share this memorial with people by sending them this link: