Longtime Big Bear local and former Woman of Distinction honoree Marie Wanke passed away on Monday, with her family at her side, including husband Gary, her Big Bear High School class of 1956 classmate and husband of nearly 49 years. Prior to her passing on November 3, Wanke, age 69, had worked for the Bear Valley Unified School District for 21 years (as secretary to the superintendent and the Board of Trustees), was named 2001’s Confidential Employee of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators, was a Board member to the Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation (up until her resignation just last Friday), and was a charter member of Soroptimists International of Big Bear Valley. Marie and Gary Wanke, along with daughters Sherri (Kirby) and Kelly (Ent), had hosted three exchange students and, says Kelly, “Anything to do with kids, she was there for it.” Wanke, also a grandmother of three, also served as the unofficial historian on BVUSD, often being of assistance to KBHR. Wanke’s life will be celebrated with a memorial service on Sunday, November 9, to be held at the Big Bear Convention Center at 2pm. Her family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Steven G. Mihaylo Foundation, in support of a Marie Wanke Scholarship. Mailing address is SG Mihaylo Foundation, P.O. Box 1529, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.
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