In the half dozen years she was a resident, Wanda Marks epitomized the volunteer spirit and love of family Murietans regard as the community's strengths.
As a grandmother, she was "simply the best," according to her daughter-in-law, Charlie Sue Back. "She just did anything they were doing. Any time we were going anywhere or hitting the road for an adventure, she just was always on board."
In addition to being a terrific grandmother and a community volunteer, Wanda Marks is remembered as a sports fan and bridge player.
As the treasurer for Summerfest, she offered over 30 years of bookkeeping experience to the volunteer organization, and helped it grow into a community fundraising phenomenon.
Mrs. Marks died Sunday after waging a battle against cancer. She was 71. Services will be held Friday at Cochrane's Chapel of the Roses, 103 Lincoln Street in Roseville. A visitation at 9:30 a.m. will be followed by a service at 10:30 a.m.
"She was pretty special," said her son, Jerry Back. "She'll be missed by a lot of people. She was involved in a lot of different things. Her primary thing was she was just a great grandma. She loved to be involved in whatever they were doing. That was a big part of her life. In fact, that's one of the reasons she moved to Rancho Murieta, so she could be closer to her grandkids. That was important."
Mrs. Marks was grandmother to 10, including the Backs' two children.
As for Summerfest, "she liked being part of the group," Jerry Back recalled. "They really liked her and that was special to her."
Mrs. Marks was a member of the Soroptimists, the international women's service organization, and also served as an election poll volunteer. She enjoyed weekly bridge games and traveling with friends.
Mrs. Back had a lifelong love of sports, and was a Kings and 49ers fan. "We could sit and talk at length about the Kings and what trades they should be making and all that business. It was fun. I'll miss that," Jerry Back said.
Growing up, "my brother and I played most sports and she never missed a game," he recalled. "Track, football, baseball – you name it, she was always there."
When she was diagnosed with lymphoma last December, "we really thought she'd make it," said Charlie Sue Back. "She had the best attitude the whole way through. All the signs were positive."
But in mid-April, the family learned the cancer had spread.
Mrs. Marks was born August 21, 1935 in Livingston, Ky. She grew up in southern Ohio as the oldest of 12 children.
During a career of over 30 years as an office manager and bookkeeper, she worked in Sacramento, Wheatland and Rancho Murieta before retiring here.
In addition to Jerry and Charlie Sue Back, Mrs. Marks is survived by her son, Michael McGuire-Back, and his wife Nancy; stepdaughter Lisa Adamson and her husband Harrison; stepson Randy Marks and his wife Cheryl; 11 brothers and sisters, 10 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Marks.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Sutter Medical Center Foundation in Mrs. Marks' memory.