Maria Ellen Nelson

Born: Tue., Sep. 6, 1955
Died: Sun., Sep. 5, 2010

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Maria Ellen Nelson 'Tehowash' Maria Ellen Nelson 'Tehowash' passed away peacefully in her home in Stanfield, Oregon on September 5, 2010 one day before her 55th birthday. She was born on September 6, 1955 in The Dalles, Oregon to Robert Nelson and Joan Crawford. She graduated from Lyle High School in Lyle, Washington. After graduating High School she held many different jobs including positions with Sprint Communications, and Nendel's Hotel in Hood River OR, the US Forest Service in Randle, and Troutlake WA, Duchesne, Utah and the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area. In 1988 she transferred to the Sierra National Forest in California as a District Administrative Officer. She met her lifelong husband there and they were married in Lake Tahoe, CA in the summer of 1989. In 1990 she and her husband obtained a dual-career transfer to the Willamette National Forest in Oregon where she was a District Administrative Officer. She performed budget analyst details to the Forest Service Regional Office in Portland, OR. She then transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland, OR as a Budget Analyst. In 1998 she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Communications from Concordia University in Portland, OR. She then transferred to the Siuslaw National Forest in Corvallis, OR as the Forest Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist. From there she took a job as a Budget Analyst with the State of Oregon Department of Human Services in Salem, OR. In 2008 she landed a job as a Budget Analyst with the US Army Corps of Engineers at McNary Dam in Umatilla, OR. Maria enjoyed traveling with her husband and other family members. She especially enjoyed her trips to Hawaii and especially looked forward to snorkeling adventures. She also enjoyed racketball, volleyball, windsurfing and golf. She was a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and attended games annually. In addition to Hawaii, Maria traveled to Alaska, the Southwest, Texas, Boston, MA , Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mexico as well as many destinations in California, Oregon and Washington. Her favorite holiday was Halloween. She also loved to read and spent much of her spare time reading Fantasy and Science fiction. She also enjoyed playing Scrabble. Maria lived a strong, productive life and provided support her family could count on. She is survived by her husband of 21 years, Steve Garza. Other surviving family members include her mother, Joan Watlamet, her sisters, Mona Cree, Ramona Smartlowit, Victoria Nelson, and Sandra Nelson. Her surviving brothers are Robert Nelson, Steve Nelson, and Phillip Watlamet. Her surviving nieces and nephews are Elizabeth Martin, Benjamin Rogers, Joseph Nelson, Crystal Star and Connie Joe Veloz . She was preceded in death by her father, Robert Nelson, her step father Roy Watlamet, her brother Stanley Smartlowit, her brother James Umtuch, her baby sister Roberta Nelson, and her grandmother Cassie Tahkeal. Dressing services will be held in the Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, OR at 1:00 PM, on Wednesday, September 8, 2010. Seven Drum and, overnight services will be held at the Nixyaawii Longhouse in Mission, OR beginning at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, September 8th. The funeral procession will depart for the Agency Cemetery at 7:00 AM on Thursday, September 9th. Sign the online guestbook at www.burnsmortuary.com Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements.

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Bernice Owens
   Posted Wed September 08, 2010
I send my prayers to the family of Marie Nelson, I remember seeing her when I was younger and I always thought Marie was a very pretty lady and I admired her the way she used to carry her self and dance at pow wows! I'm going to miss seeing her smile and going to miss her very much! I love you all and my prayers go out to each of you in the family, may the good lord bless you and watch over you in your time of healing.......again Thank you for sharen Marie with us in Wapato. Bernice Owens :

Sandra Sampson
   Posted Wed September 08, 2010
Our prayers are with the Family and friends of the elder that has gone on. Love you Auntie Joan and Family

Donna Everett
   Posted Wed September 08, 2010
So sorry to read this news in the Yakima Herald. I remember Maria as a little girl when I first met you. She was beautiful then as now. My prayers are with you and your family as you heal from this great loss. Very Sorry, Donna Everett

Verna M. Barkley Johnson
   Posted Wed September 08, 2010
May God bless each and every one of you. I pray you will have the Lord's hand upon you as you walk through this door. May you be blessed with his peace and strength each and every family member. She was a remarkable woman and a powerful example to me. All of my memories of Maria are of love and respect. I will continue to pray for all of you, especially Joan. You are a beautiful family. Love always,

Byron Akita
   Posted Wed September 08, 2010
I went to school with Maria in Lyle. I always wondered where she went. As I was reading her obituary I was pleased that she had such a full and meaningful life. I was always amazed at how intelligent she was, especially in math. She was so proud of heritage and her family. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

Madeline Grant
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
I was so surprised to see this in the local paper. I went to high school with her and will always remember her as a wonderful person and so very nice. She traveled so many places, that I'm sure it will leave very good memories for the family to remember her by. She will be missed.

John P. Abraham, Sr.
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
To the family of Maria Nelson, I am very sorry to hear of Maria's passing. You are all in my thoughts. John P. Abraham, Sr.

Dee Dee Lingo
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
You will be missed.

David Pond
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
To Maria's family and friends, I have only dealt with Maria on a business level, but what a pleasure it was to work with her. She was always courteous, polite and smiling. One could even feel her smile over the phone. She is a person who has passed through my life that has touched me. She will be missed. My thoughts are with all of you. David Pond

Beverly Drury
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
I worked with Maria, we were roomies for awhile when she first came to McNary. I miss Maria as we talked everyday at work. She was a great person. I hope that her last days were peaceful. I will miss her greatly.

Patty Jones
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
To the family of Maria, You are all in my prayers.

Barbara LaGarde
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
Family of Maria E. Nelson My heartfelt condolences to Steven and family. I have shared many joys and memories with Maria over the past three years while working at McNary Dam. Maria was on our current Art Decor Committee and we worked together to complete a display of artwork showing the history of McNary Lock and Dam. I enjoyed shopping and dining out with Maria. I admired her values and loved listening to stories of her family and basket making. She was a bright star that will forever shine in our hearts.

Sally Gonzales
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
Maria will be remembered for her beautiful smile, her kind ways and her great spirit. She is thought of fondly by us on the Siuslaw NF.

Margie Goodman Hunter
   Posted Thu September 09, 2010
I was a classmate of Maria's and we became close friends in High School. She taught me a lot about her cultural and spiritual beliefs and she knew that I loved hearing the stories that her grandmother used to tell her. In High School she made me a beaded bag that I still treasure today. I was proud of all of her accomplishments and loved hearing about her new adventures. Our graduating class just had a get together last Spring and I had a wonderful afternoon sharing memories with Maria and getting to know Steve. Please accept my heartfelt symphaty in the loss of your beautiful "Maria" she is now a bright light shining down on us from the heavens.

CiCi Chitwood
   Posted Fri September 10, 2010
My condolences to Steve and to Maria's family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I have fond memories of Maria from fire assignments and working together on the Siuslaw NF. She will be missed by many.

Sharon Stewart
   Posted Fri September 10, 2010
I am gratefull to know Maria through our work together on the Siuslaw NF. I will always remember her brillant smile, wit, and support she gave freely. My deepest condolances to her husband Steve, and family.

Mary Zuschlag
   Posted Fri September 10, 2010
Goodbye my friend I will always remember our good times on the Siuslaw, dinner at Big River, coffee at Starbucks, and our long talks, and shared books. I always admired the strong connection you had to your family. You had a big heart, and a generous spirit. I pray you went gently into the night. Farewell.... Mary Z

Ruth De Vore
   Posted Sat September 11, 2010
My condolences to Maria's family. Maria and I worked together at Sprint for several years. I so enjoyed our time we shared. Maria was a person filled with joy and love of life. I'm so sad at her leaving this world too soon. Easy journey to you, Maria, and happy afterlife is what you richly deserve. Love, your pal Ruth

Bradley Bernardy
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
I remember Maria from working with her at Detroit, OR for the U.S. Forest Service. She was smart, funny and had a quick wit. Steve, I know how hard this must be to lose her so early. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and friends at this difficult time.

Amber Trukositz
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
My heart goes out to Maria's family. She was a sweet kind lady. She will be missed.

Janeta Huckeby
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
Steve and family. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Maria was so vibrant and full of life. What a shock. May the Lord comfort you and the family. I am truly sorry.

Ken Loree
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
Maria was vibrant person with a giving heart. I will miss her.

Lupe Wilson
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
Thought are with Steve and the family at this time. I'm in really shock hearing about Maria's passing. I did not realize that she and I were the same age with me turning 55 in mid August. I have worked for the Willamette NF for years and also worked with her on fires as I'm Time Unit Leader with the NW team and have worked with Steve also. Thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

Anne Kennedy
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
My heart and prayers are with you and your family, Steve. I was shocked to learn about Maria's passing. I enjoyed working with her at the Forest Service. I remember her laugh so well and with great fondness. I hope knowing that other people care about you will help ease your sadness.

Brent and Joyce Erskine
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
We were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Maria.She was funny and had a great smile. Our best to Steve and her family. They are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bobby Lindquist
   Posted Mon September 13, 2010
So sorry to hear about Maria. Have fond memories of working with her on the Willamette NF. Also, more than fond memories of working with her on fire teams. She was a joy to work with on fire and party with afterwards!. She will be warmly remembered and my thoughts are with her family. So sorry for your loss. Love, Bobby

Mary
   Posted Tue September 14, 2010
Steve, I am so very sorry for you and for her family. I had no idea until just now. I am so very shocked, stunned. How could someone so vibrant leave - I had counted on her being here till old age to laugh with.... to mutually understand.... I just did not see this and had expected her to put up with me being out of touch for just a little while longer. Steve, You have my heart felt condolences. - Mary Waxinchwakulth

Rebecca Dobkins
   Posted Wed September 15, 2010
I am so saddened to learn of Maria's death and my deepest condolences go to Steve and to her extended family. I got to know Maria through her service on Willamette University's Native American Advisory Council, where she played a vital role in advising the university regarding its work with Native communities. I loved Maria's sense of humor and ability to speak her mind! She will be sorely missed.

Becky Jones
   Posted Fri September 17, 2010
My sincere sympathy.

lynnyates
   Posted Wed September 22, 2010
Dearest Steve - we just heard of your loss. Words cannot help at this point in time but I wanted you to know that I'm sending good wishes to you & yours. I adored Maria and was thrilled that I got to share a few years of her wonderful life. God Bless & Keep you safe. Lynn - Detroit Ranger District

Gloria Perez
   Posted Wed September 29, 2010
Dear Family: I met Maria at the fitness center of the Forest Service R6 office building. I was immediately struck by her warmth and beautiful smile. I've run into Maria here and there over the years as our federal careers intersected. She was always warm, supportive, and friendly; a beautiful person both inside and out. I just received the news, and feel shocked and saddened. It is comforting to know Maria went peacefully. May it be of comfort to you that Maria touched many lives. My deepest sympathies for your loss. Sincerely, Gloria

Neil Paulson
   Posted Wed September 29, 2010
I was a Ranger on the Mt. Adams District in the 1970s. It was a great place to work when I was there. I noticed that Maria had worked there too. I hope her experience was as good as mine. I hope you had a chance to visit and enjoy Mt. Adams smiling down on Trout Lake and Maria. I'm very sorry for your great loss.

Trena Fields
   Posted Tue October 05, 2010
Steve, I have so many memories of Maria! Putting up Hawiian posters in the ladies bathroom. I remember as if it where yesterday Maria stating to dress where you aspire to be............ not where you are at, at the moment. She had a great work ethic and a hoot to go out with. You two always seemed like the odd couple you so quite and her so bubbly being the social butterfly, but you both evened each other out. You would save she would spend, she was a wild woman and you were more subdude. A perfect match. My heart is truly hurting for your loss. She was a special woman that will never be replaced. Her smile, the funky dance moves, her funny faces after a long day or someone saying something funny. A friend... I will truly miss. She is with the stars and moon always shinning. Trena

John Crane
   Posted Tue October 12, 2010
It's with much sarrow that I learned of Maria's passing today. I met Maria when I worked on the Packwood RD. Such a person full of life and a smile that could melt your troubles away.I admired her greatly for her strength and family values. Like a rainbow after a storm I shall smile and reflect on her short but full life. May she rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to Steve and her family.

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