Marie Cecelia Andrews-Ladd was born in Chicago, IL in 1917. Her parents Emil and Victoria Wachter moved to San Diego, CA in 1918 where they raised their only child.
Her first husband Howard Livingston Clayton was a submariner who was lost at sea on June 12, 1943 during WWII. Marie was a volunteer for the Red Cross and the U.S.O. at this time. In September 1943 she became employed as a probate secretary for Mr. Hal G. Hotchkiss in San Diego until her marriage to Rubin E. Andrew in 1950 and subsequent relocation to PA where she raised her family. During these years she was also a volunteer with the literacy program. Marie reentered the work force in 1970 and advanced to the position of Executive Secretary to the President of Brotherhood’s Relief and Compensation Fund in Harrisburg.
Following her retirement she embarked upon a new career as a Realtor with Balderston Real Estate in Camp Hill. During this time she was also a volunteer Docent for over fifteen years with the State Museum of PA.
Marie was preceded in death by her husbands and her son Greg Andrews and is survived by a daughter, Barbara Andrews. She is also survived by an extended family from her marriage to George T. Ladd.
Marie deeply affected so many people during her long and full life and will be dearly missed by those she has left behind.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the convenience of the family at her Parish, St. Theresa Catholic Church, New Cumberland.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Caring Hospice Services, 101 Good Drive, 1st Floor, Lancaster, PA 17603.
Michael A. Barber, of Seattle, WA.
Posted June 5 at 3:38 PM CST
Marie Andrews-Ladd died at 97 a week before Memorial Day. The timing is somehow fitting. Her generation, dubbed the Greatest Generation, is fading rapidly into history. Those who served in uniform have been rightfully honored for their sacrifices. Yet she, too, sacrificed as one of the Gold Star wives who, like all families who never wanted but proudly bear the Gold Star honor, quietly live on with the costs and sacrifices of war.
It has been 71 years since she was Marie Clayton. In the summer of 1943, she was a vibrant woman of 26 anxious for her sailor at sea when, on a balmy San Diego day, she received dreaded news. Her husband of six years, Howard Clayton, a U.S. Navy signalman on the submarine USS R-12, had perished at sea with 41 crewmates when the boat sank on June 12,1943. They had no children. “On Eternal Patrol” is what submariners say in honoring crewmates who will never come home. Marie's life changed eternally, too. Marie joined the sisterhood of war widows, one of the many who quietly and without recognition wept, brushed aside tears and soldiered on with their lives. In their own invisible and exemplary ways it was they who moved on to help heal and mend the social fabric of the postwar nation. As a widowed career woman in the 1940s, Marie volunteered for the USO and the Red Cross. Over the years, the past faded into memory in the march of time as splintered lives, like the rubble of war, were rebuilt.
She was born Cecelia Marie Wachter in 1917, the only child of German-Polish immigrants to America, and her life spanned homes in Poland, San Diego, Texas and Pennsylvania. (Her mother, Victoria, once sewed money into the hems of clothes sent back to Polish relatives.) In those post-war years, which briefly touched on celebrity as a guest at one of actress Bette Davis's weddings, Marie Clayton became Marie Andrews when she remarried, this time to a former World War II Marine, a first-sergeant-turned-newspaper-man, Rubin "Andy" Andrews. The couple settled in Texas and had two children, Barbara and Greg. As Andy worked to boost he circulation of the New York Daily News, they moved from Texas to make a life in New Cumberland, Pa., and eventually to more rural Etters. Images persist of Andy in his Jeep, puffing his pipe, dog at his side – and before Valley Green was a development, using his expert rifleman experience as a Marine to keeping the rodent population down.
Marie worked for Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation and rose to be executive secretary. As her daughter would later do for her, Marie cared for her own mother in her later years in New Cumberland. Marie was again widowed in 1973 when Andy, close to retirement, suddenly died. Within months she experienced the unnatural for a parent, the death of a child – and Barbara the shock of losing a brother – when Greg died tragically. Many admired Marie's resilience as she again pulled herself together to heal and embrace life, not knowing that behind the scenes, Barbara was her rock, lending strength to quietly share and absorb the tolls. Marie cherished her friendships and family – Scrabble was a passion -- and lived an energetic life in perpetual motion. A word or phrase here or there recalls fond imagery: Elegant, curious, energetic, compassionate and passionate, professional, opinionated – "I say what I think!" Patriotic, involved. Her chuckle and twinkle and smile. Cruise ships, travel to visit old friends. St. Theresa's Catholic Church. Regular hair appointments with Bonnie. Oft-quoted in the face of adversity: "What will be will be." Easter lillies and Poinsettias. The Moms. Pets - Zackie, Billy and Mr. Yeats and the others Barb adopted. Pride and appreciation of Barb, especially her intelligence and beauty. And who can forget Scrabble? After retirement from Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation, Marie earned a real estate license and found a second career. She also trained to become a volunteer docent guiding informative tours at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg.
In her 70s she learned to play piano, even performing in recitals. Open to life, even as her closest friends passed away, she remarried again, this time to George Ladd of York Haven, a local elected official who in another time might have been called a country gentleman. They spent happy years, adding the Ladds to the familial mix, until he, too, passed away. As Marie herself became older and frail, Barbara, ever the Marine’s daughter, eventually summoned her own character, fiber and tenacity to put aside her life and career to care for her mother full time, with a lift from Ladd family members, especially Mary. Barbara was with Marie when she died at home in hospice care on May 19. While the full life and heartfelt memories make her passing all the more deeply felt, Marie's spirit admonishes us to live on in another way. Two years before she died, Marie performed one last duty on behalf of that sacrifice long ago, when Memorial Day became every day for her and thousands of other war widows and families. With Barbara tending nearby, she sat for an interview while a film documentary crew added her words to a chronicle of the discovery in recent years of the R-12 by an underwater exploration team. The submarine was left undisturbed as a grave beneath the sea, except for a memorial plaque placed nearby. The producers, seeking to emphasize the sacrifice of those lost, and narrow the distance to 1943, were surprised to find a crew member's widow still alive. Her presence alone confirmed the overarching lesson learned by her spirit. The memory of the submarine and its lost sailors remain in our hearts, and we draw from that the duty to see that life itself, no matter how joyous or painful, must and will go on.