Marion Mooney — a passionate gardener whose life in the US started with a desire to explore the Southwest — died from cancer Jan. 18, 2023, in San Diego while surrounded by family. She was 85.
Born Dec. 4, 1938, to Virgil Ray and Olga Elizabeth in Lethbridge, Canada, Marion grew up on a farm with the wide open spaces of Alberta as her playground. It was there that she developed an adventurous spirit, a passion for gardening, and a love of animals.
After the death of her father, she left home and attended school to become a telephone operator. Just 17 years old and wanting to get as close to Mexico as possible, she ventured to Tucson, Arizona, on a work visa. There, she found work as an operator at the El Dorado Lodge, a dude ranch for the well-heeled.
She eventually caught the eye of a ranch hand, Ray Mooney, who upon hearing that she missed riding horses, invited her on a moonlit ride.
The rest is history.
The couple had many adventures together working on ranches and running their own long-haul trucking company. She also had a successful bookkeeping career, and became a vital source of canned fruit and vegetables for friends and family.
Their family included her stepdaughter, Mavi (Augie Ghio); daughters Shannon (Bret Wells) and Kelly (Daniel Goebel); and six grandchildren, Justin Ghio, Laurie Ghio-Risser, Jason Wells, Bobbie Wells, Bryan Goebel, and Caitlin Goebel.
In addition to her love of gardening and animals, Marion was passionate about music. When she wasn’t digging in the dirt or feeding a stray animal, she was playing the piano or violin. She will be greatly missed for her unpretentious spirit and kind heart.
Marion was preceded in death by her husband, Alden Ray; siblings, Leona, Lorraine, Darlene, and Ray; and grandson, Bryan.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your favorite animal shelter. Burial services will be held at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Friday, March 8, at 9:30 a.m.