She is an only child born Marie Louise Anderson, Nov. 24, 1912, in Los Angeles to her 21-year-old mother from Texas and her 33-year-old French-speaking Creole father who had already ridden horses with Poncho Villa in Mexico.
The family moved from Arizona to Denver, when as a 13-year-old, she entered Morey Junior High School (now Morey Middle School) and met three girls who remained lifelong friends through Shorter African Methodist Episcopal Church activities and Camp Nizhoni for African American girls in Lincoln Hills, Colorado.
Inspired by her parents to ALWAYS do her best and with her love for reading, Marie studied relentlessly to be ranked third in her West High School graduating class of 357 to earn a cherished scholarship during The Great Depression to attend Colorado Teachers College (CTC), now the University of Northern Colorado.
Sports served as her outlet at school and as camaraderie with teammates who valued her tenacity and skill, despite her small stature, just 5’ tall. Although she minored in Physical Education at CTC, she chose to major in Primary Education because she deeply believed that children’s achievement was grounded in a strong foundation in first grade, which she continued to teach in Denver Public Schools for 26 years.
Her teaching career was supported by her husband of 40 years, Bill, and interrupted by the birth of her four children – Richard, Louise, Bill and Jim. Lessons from her frugal parents and her talent as a seamstress helped her stretch limited dollars, so the family could travel and sightsee throughout the U.S. and the children could take piano, violin and drum lessons.