Marian Elsinore Wills

Dec 31, 1969 - Dec 6, 2013


On December 6, 2013 at Gold Beach, Oregon Marian Elsinore Wills peacefully joined her Heavenly Father. She was 97 years old and was predeceased by Preston ‘Pinkey’ Wills, her husband of 69 years.

Marian was born on January 29th, 1916 in Alameda, California and was a third generation native. She was baptized at Mission Dolores in San Francisco and then moved with her family in 1918 to Sausalito, California. She grew up in Sausalito in a home built by her father, learning to swim in the San Francisco bay, riding her uncle’s buggy on their dairy ranch, and generally roaming the hills of the Marin headlands. Her kindergarten class planted the large grove of Eucalyptus trees that now perch near the Rainbow tunnel on Highway 101. Just as she entered high school, her parents moved to Kentfield where she attended the brand new St. Anselm’s Catholic High School. In 1929 her family moved to Sacramento and she transferred to Sacramento High School. There she met her future husband Preston Wills. She graduated from Sacramento High School in 1933 and married Pinkey on May 7th, 1934.

As a homemaker she was an excellence seamstress and designer, making decorations for her favorite ladies groups Including the Califia Parlor No. 22 of the Native Daughters of the Golden West which she joined in 1949. Using her creative talents, Marian imagined and then started what was known as Christmas Card Lane (55th between H and J streets) in the late 1940’s to early 19SO’s. Her front yard decor included hand-made life-size choir ensembles, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, and many other favorite holiday scenes. Soon the other homes followed suit and thousands of people traveled from all over the city to enjoy the Christmas decorations. Her endeavors earned many first place awards from the Sacramento Bee. Marian was also active in several philanthropic organizations and was a long-time member of the Daughters of the Nile which supports the Shriners Children Hospitals, and Order of the Eastern Star and other local charity group.

She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Ken and Sharon Wills, and Don and Patty Wills; her granddaughters and grandsons Donna Wills Colson, Lynda Wills Bettencourt, Erin Wills Boatman, Mike Wills, Mark Wills, Brian Wills; numerous adopted grandchildren, and her extensive clan of great grandchildren.

Private services to be held at East Lawn Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Northern California Shriner Children’s Hospital located at 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento CA 95817 or to the charity of your choice .

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