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152 Worcester Street
PO Box 75
North Grafton, MA 01536
Phone: (508) 839-4491
Fax:
About An Amazing Life|Help

Marla B.
DeVane

November 3, 1958 – April 23, 2022

Marla DeVane
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Memorial Candles Lit for Marla | SEE ALL
"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Roney Funeral Home

Obituary for Marla B. DeVane

GRAFTON: Marla DeVane passed away April 23, 2022, after a 15-year fight against Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease. She was deeply loved by her family and her many friends. Marla leaves behind her husband Charlie DeVane; daughter Kate DeVane Brown (Matt) and grandchildren Elliot and Lucy; daughter Emily Pauley (Justin); son Matt DeVane; brothers Scott Martin (Sue), Neil Martin (Candy), and Jeff Martin (Sytske), along with many nieces and nephews. Marla was predeceased by her parents, Richard and Rona Martin.

Marla was born and raised in upstate New York, and never lost her love of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UNH, then spent a year as an aid in a deaf classroom, which inspired her to complete a Master’s in Deaf Education at Gallaudet University. She was a passionate teacher of deaf children for many years until choosing to stay home with her young family. She ran her own children’s book business, offering a curated selection of books that was enthusiastically received by customers. When her children were older, she was a frequent substitute teacher and had even accepted a contract to teach second grade before her Parkinson’s diagnosis and related symptoms derailed that dream. Later on, her passion for gardening led to work at a local greenhouse where she was highly sought after for her expertise at creating beautiful potted flower arrangements (using her tried and true formula of selecting plants to “thrill, fill, and spill”).

At church, Marla sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, sign interpreted for the deaf, organized prayer groups, mentored other moms, led women’s ministries, and served on the board of elders. Her deeply rooted faith was an anchor in her life and an inspiration to others.

She loved more things than we can possibly list here, but we’ll try anyway: time with kids, swimming, bowling, thrift store shopping, crafting gifts and cards, cooking and baking for others, jigsaw puzzles, games, watercolor artwork, good books, flowers, home-grown tomatoes, walking the beach in Maine, finding sea glass, her roots in the Adirondacks, and her family.

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease turned our world upside down, but she charted a new course to fight back for herself and others, including exercise (walking, tai chi, swimming 4-5 miles a week, and more), participation in research studies in Boston, fundraising for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and active engagement in a local Parkinson’s support group. She celebrated her 50th birthday with a sensational party, complete with square dance band, in order to “dance while you can.” Every year on the anniversary of her diagnosis, we commemorate Defiance Day, a reminder to live life to the fullest and an excellent excuse for a beach day with family and friends.

Despite the rapid progression of her debilitating condition in recent years, her warm, loving, giving, laughing spirit always courageously shone through, with an unassuming manner that drew people to her like a magnet. To celebrate her life, we suggest you take a long walk outside, drink a chai latte with friends, get your hands dirty planting flowers, and dance while you can!

A memorial service will be held Saturday May 21, 2022 at 1 pm in Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 3 Pleasant Street, Sutton, MA. A reception will follow. Burial will be private.

To protect the members of our family and community that are immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable, we require that all in attendance be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless medically contraindicated, and wear an appropriate mask throughout the event.



In lieu of flowers, we request donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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Service Information

When
Saturday, May 21st, 2022 1:00pm
Location
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church
Address
3 Pleasant St.
Sutton, MA 01590