In the early morning of a full moon and carried away by a fierce August wind storm, Marlene Donnette Dickey began her new adventure at 2:10 a.m., Aug. 29, 2015 following an evening serenaded with love and music by many of her friends.
Marlene, daughter of Donnell Wallace Dickey and Myrtle Joy Turner, was born in White Salmon, Ore., June 3, 1952, the home of the six generation Dickey family farm. Her heritage inspired her passion for plants and gardening. Marlene graduated from Culver High School and attended Community College in Bend, Ore., and OSU in Corvallis. She also studied massage with Bryan Utting in Seattle and herbal medicine with Michael Moore in New Mexico.
Marlene lived her life as an inspired free spirit. Her gypsy lifestyle gave her the freedom to pursue many interests and when tired of the road she would settle down either on Orcas Island or in Oregon. While in Oregon, she lived in Summitt, had a costume store in Corvallis, she owned a home in Depoe Bay, sang jazz with the Pat George Quartet in Newport and fished salmon off the coast. She was an accomplished musician and songwriter, storyteller, medicinal herbalist, massage therapist and horticulturalist. Her interests were eclectic and she shared her knowledge freely and widely with her friends of all ages.
Marlene had many loves, she loved her friends and family, furry animal spirits, music, yoga, astrology, gardening and collecting all things magical and shiny. Marlene had “spark-plug” energy starting projects that are still enjoyed by our island community. She originated the Healing Arts Center with other healers. She was co-creator of the Oddfellows Christmas Fair, which later became the Artisan’s Faire. Upon her first diagnoses of breast cancer, she organized the Bizarre Brassiere Bazaar, a benefit art auction which raised money to help islanders with transportation costs for medical treatments.
Her musician friends and concert-goers will attest to her beautiful voice, wide octave range, excellent vibrato, skilled guitar and banjo playing and her accomplished yodeling. She performed throughout the islands in theaters and taverns, fairs and festivals, and benefit concerts for islanders in need. She collaborated with many musicians over the years and performed a one woman concert, where she could entertain us solo for an entire evening of song and storytelling.
Marlene embodied the life of an artist, working as a songstress, gardener, caregiver, loving pet-sitter, waitress, bartender and her most important job was for the entertainment of her friends and sharing the wisdom of her studies. She was a true and lifelong friend. She was available for deep spiritual conversation or willing to perform a Singing Telegram as one of her favorite characters, the Queen of Hearts, bringing laughter, joy and comfort to many. Known for her fashion statements of glitter and sequins and bright colors, she could wear polka dot pajama bottoms paired with Hawaiian shirts and vintage rhinestone sunglasses and her every present glittering eyes for the enjoyment of all. She studied gymnastics as a child and would show off her skills whenever or wherever possible. She was a fancy dancer and could do splits and back-bends and cart-wheeled herself to Orcas Island 35 years ago and into our hearts.
When the cancer returned, she was held in love by her closest of friends. Marlene, affectionately known to some as Marlenie Weenie, will be missed by many, including her loving family and many young friends whom she mentored with love, humor and wisdom. Her family members include John, Stevie, Michael and Annette Dickey; Tad, Cheri, Dondi and Scott Dickey; Kim and Mark Iverson; Mark, Adam, Megan and Kevin Bezona.
Marlene continued her sparkling dance of life to the very end and our lives are better because she lived.
Please join us for a celebration of Marlene at the Random Howse Open Mic, Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. Bring music and laughter and dress for Marlene.