Marie Draper


Our beloved wife, mother, grandma and great-grandma, Marie Powell Draper, passed away September 1, 2022 from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Marie was full of life with a contagious laugh and a heart full of love towards everyone she came in contact with.

She was born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941 in Price, Utah to Abraham Leroy and Veloy Robertson Powell. She married her childhood sweetheart, James Arthur Draper, on November 24, 1960 in Price, Utah.

After a few years at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, they moved to Seattle, Washington so James could earn his PhD. Marie stayed home with her children while being very active in the PTA. Because she was a natural leader and had a knack for connecting with people from all walks of life, she was selected to lead the effort to integrate and include African American students in the University Heights community. She was a civil rights activist and taught Parent Effectiveness Training.

Later, the family moved to Gainesville, Florida where James worked as a professor at the University of Florida. She earned community service awards for her volunteerism at the Gainesville Florida Crises and Suicide Prevention Center. She went to college to study Psychology and graduated with a 4.0. She brought many fellow students home and tutored them around our kitchen table.

The family later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland where James became a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy. Marie was a software support consultant and retired from the World Bank in Washington, DC in 2003. She became an expert in emerging technologies, was well liked, and solved complex problems, which helped many colleagues.

She was musically talented and played the piano, guitar, oboe, dulcimer, recorder, autoharp, and xylophone. She was a wonderful mother who made others feel nurtured and loved, from neighborhood kids to her numerous nieces and nephews, and grandchildren. She loved creating music and singing together with them. She had a unique ability to befriend people and would form a deep connection with them quickly after meeting them. She was a talented cook and many of her meals and signature dishes have become legendary. She showed her love to those near and far through her cooking and baking, including overnighting baked goods to share a taste of her kitchen. She was also a very talented crafter and storyteller. She loved arrowhead hunting in the desert, antiquing and decorating her cozy home.

She loved her children fiercely: Julie van Vierssen (Marcel), Lori Draper-Smith (Brian), and Mike. She had an uncanny ability to call or check on them just when it was needed. Her Grandchildren brought her pride and joy: Marijke (Richard), Taylor, Hayden (Bryanna), Dylan, Jennison (Taylor), Ryan, and Violet. She loved interacting with her great-grandkids, Redd and Henrik, and loved receiving daily pictures of Ruby and Elyza. She was excited a new baby boy was coming soon.

She is preceded in death by her parents and siblings. We are relieved she is no longer in pain. We are so grateful her husband, James, who took such tender care of her for 10 years. His love and patience will never be forgotten and we have all been blessed by their marriage of nearly 62 years. We will miss the light and love Marie brought to all of us.

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