Maridel Francis Commagère, 95, of Laguna Beach, CA, passed away suddenly in her Laguna Beach home of natural causes on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Known as "Mamie" to her family, she was a fixture of Laguna Beach for 54 years and could often be seen waving from her beachfront balcony or displaying one of her American flags.
Born on February 24, 1917, in Spokane, WA, Maridel was the only child of Mary Loraine (Magee) of Daisy, WA, and Delbert Montanye Francis of Butte, MT.
In 1930 Maridel moved to Long Beach, CA where she survived the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. For several months, she had to attend school in outdoor tents.
Maridel graduated early from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1933 at age 16. She graduated in 1935 from Long Beach Junior College. From there she went to UCLA, majored in mathematics and statistics and received her BA in psychology in 1938. She played touch football and was president of her sorority Alpha Delta Pi of which she was a lifelong member. She used to walk from her sorority house on Hilgard to class through the woods which are now parking lots and Hershey Hall.
In 1940, Maridel took a Caribbean cruise aboard the United Fruit Company ship Sixaola. On that ship Maridel met the love of her life, Robert Anthony Commagère of New Orleans. Bob was a purser aboard the ship. Two weeks later they married as soon as the ship returned to New Orleans.
Soon after their New Orleans marriage, the couple moved to California and decided to live in the San Fernando Valley, namely Sherman Oaks and Encino. Bob became the first President of the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors of which he was an honorary member for life.
They settled in Laguna in 1958, became avid golfers, and were members of the Indian Wells Country Club. In 1962 they built their beachfront dream home. Maridel and Bob were married for 37 years until Bob passed away in 1978. Twenty-four years later, Maridel’s beach-loving granddaughter, Carla, moved into the bottom floor. With her partner Hans Hagen, Carla soon had two children who became the light of Maridel's life, and with Maridel's son and daughter-in-law often visiting, there were four generations under one roof. Truly unusual for 2012!
Maridel loved doing needlepoint and petit point projects, collecting antiques and decorating her homes. She was always excited to watch UCLA football and basketball, Monday night football, and golf. She loved her dogs, and loved her bourbon. She even had her drink the night she passed away. She called everyone “honey,” had a Christmas card list a mile long, and never forgot anybody. She did things her way up until her last day and never complained about anything. At age 70 she became proficient on the computer and enjoyed web surfing, emailing friends, and Facebook even in her 95th year. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her.
Maridel passes on her stubbornness, charm, good looks, and love of 5:00 pm to her only son Robert Francis Commagère and his wife Ramira of Los Angeles; five grandchildren, Kerstin Alice (Commagère) Seufert (Dan) of South Lake Tahoe, CA, Anton Robert Commagère of Redmond, WA, Carla María Commagère (Hans Hagen) of Laguna Beach, Juliette Monique Commagère (Joachim Cooder) and Robert Anthony Commagère, II of Los Angeles; two Great grandchildren, Hana Commagère Hagen, 7 and Lyric Commagère Hagen, 5 both of Laguna Beach.
A private service was held at Pacific View Memorial Park on December 13.