The stars aligned, the flowers bloomed, the angels sang, and on May 23, 1927, something miraculous happened; Marquita Ann Face came into this world. She is the second child of seven born to Olyn and Collette Face, during a time when the world was very different than now. The family began in the cold state of Michigan, and when Marquita was seven years old, her parents packed all they owned, their four children and three Great Dane’s and set out for sunny Southern California. Her father was a gifted artist, diligent and industrious, supplementing the family income by breeding Great Danes. Two of the Danes traveling west with them were pups to be delivered to their new home, providing cash to make it the rest of the way. Marquita's mother was a precious little woman. She stood no more than five feet tall, with her good shoes on, and she had as much spunk as love. Fiercely devoted to her Catholic Faith, husband and children, Collette spent every day determined that her home and family would honor God. Marquita learned from her mother the dedication and effort it took to run a household, but even more, she had the example of joy in raising a family. After a full day of hard work, there was healthy food, laughter, music, and singing.
In Marquita’s early years, times were difficult in our country, and people got through the tough times by helping one another. Everyone worked, and everyone contributed, even the children, as this is how they would learn to one day run a household and provide for a family. Marquita had a sharp mind, a penchant for medicine, and a heart to help and care for others. By sixteen, she knew she wanted to pursue a medical career, and would have to move closer to a university for studies. When discussing her hopes and plans with her father, it became clear that he wanted her to remain at home and help her mother with the house and children. He didn’t demand she stay; still, he asked her to consider his request. Marquita did continue to help her mom and her favorite chore was caring for the younger Face children. Marquita’s older sister, Maxine, was brave and strong-willed and had left home early and Marquita always admired her for it. Marquita’s younger siblings, Dick, David, Herm, ZoAnn, and Gary, were a busy bunch, and if she wasn’t going to learn to doctor, she was going to practice mothering. Of course, the older boys would have none of it and nearly ran her ragged as she tried to enforce compliance. The younger two were more willing to listen to her 17 years of wisdom. In later years, she reflected, its a wonder any of them forgave their bossy big sister.
When Marquita was 18, a friend had set her up for a blind date on New Year's Eve. After riding the bus to LA to meet, he never showed. She had been stood up! As Marquita prepared to catch the bus home, serendipity happened! A handsome, tall and slender blond man, in military uniform no less, had caught her eye. In no time, they had made acquaintance, exchanged names and shared a seat for the hour bus ride that took her back to Riverside and him to March AFB. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corp, and his name Jesse Carlton McIntire. In the short two months before his year-long deployment to Germany, Jesse had won both Marquita’s heart and that of her parent’s. It was a long year to follow. Marquita married her handsome flyboy, “Mac,” on a blazing hot day in August of 1947. She said many years later, had she rebelled against her father, she never would have met Mac or have the children she so loved. Her father was a wise and temperate man, and to trust him came naturally.
Marquita and Mac spent the next 20 years transferring one Airbase to another, oft in the middle of the night. "The transfers came most often," Marquita remarked, "when 8 or 9 months pregnant." In that time they had several children, numbering twelve after having been transferred for the final time, to Castle AFB. The children had come one by one, with little more than 18 months between any two and they are named as follows: #1 Keith, #2 Joel, #3 David, #4 Gerry, #5 Minda, #6 Melissa, #7 Kevin, #8 Kolin, #9 Karen, #10 Craig, #11 Curtis, and finally the baby, #12 Marta. That alone is to be applauded! But Marquita faithfully invested everything she had into her husband and children, enveloping them in her love of family and their unified identity as McIntires. She never ceased encouraging her children and when concerned about one’s behavior, she would take the time necessary to develop change. When one succeeded, she praised and when one faltered, she lent her hand, physically and spiritually. In those years of active duty, much of it with Mac deployed, Marquita mastered many of the chores for which the husband and father would be responsible. She became supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and she did it while maintaining class and elegance and a fashion sense that could stand up to any big city.
Alongside her career as an officers wife and the raising of the McIntire 12, Marquita was active over the years in many social groups and remained busy beyond the constraints of her home. In Atwater, these included the Officers' Wives Club and Toastmasters, where she made and maintained friendships with many precious women over the years. She also began and led for many years, the exercise class for the military wives at Castle AFB which opened the door for the ladies to have a place where they could exercise. Marquita and Mac were in the square dance club, the Rockin A's, and each week, along with all of the children, they went square dancing. Even when Mac was away, Marquita took the kids out. At least once a week the whole house-full and often the children from next door, with sandwiches or fried chicken, would go out for the day. Not just to the corner playground either, these were bonafide two vehicle day-trips, to Columbia Gold Rush Town, or Sonora, or one of the many beautifully treed national parks nearby with a river flowing thru.
One characteristic Marquita so amazingly maintained, was her stable and calm nature. Seldom did anyone ever see her feathers ruffled. She was quite simply, unflappable. Even in the most challenging of situations, she could take a deep breath and move forward with grace and wisdom, often sprinkled with fun. When the Thanksgiving turkey was dropped one year while a large crowd gathered for dinner, she just picked it up and took it to the kitchen, washed it off and brought it back out saying, "It's a good thing I made two!" Perhaps the key to Marquita’s calm was song. She would sing most all the time around the house. As the housework was being accomplished, as she woke the sleepy or sang the wide awake to sleep, when making a meal or serving dinner, or when singing just to have something to dance to, she made music and music made the day. Some will remember, Marquita had a song for just about everything, including the cashier at the grocery whose name tag reminded her of a ditty. If you have had the pleasure of her singing an oldie about or for you, you are rich indeed.
Marquita's love for her children was selfless and tenacious, as was her treatment of all people, always putting others before her own needs. She was known to take a phone call, and within an hour she could be on the road, her obligations reassigned and her destination the home of the son or daughter who had called, sometimes from far away. Marquita was kind, understanding and easy to talk to and there were many times she took the clunky landline phone to bed with her, speaking softly, staying awake sometimes for hours, until the hurting person on the other end was finally able to sleep. Joyfully committed to supporting each of the McIntire Twelve as they needed, and according to what was best for them, she was always willing to lend a hand, a shoulder, and an ear. Marquita was at times taken advantage of, due to her generous nature, but said there was a lesson in that also. She would be wise and attentive, but it would not prevent her from helping, guiding, mothering and mentoring to the best of her ability, anyone who needed help. Marquita was intentional in her love, lessons, care, and prayers in such a way that each of her children, even as adults distanced by years and miles, could know the mom who had always been there for them, always will be. Many of her children's friends adopted her as their own and have continued to call her Mom even until now.
After over 55 good years of marriage, Mac passed away, yet Marquita was not alone. Surrounded by people she loved and who loved her, she thrived. Eventually, she met and married the 2nd love of her life, Paul Geisler. Paul came with seven loving daughters, whom Marquita wholeheartedly welcomed into the family. Together, their children numbered #19! Paul and Marquita were a joyous match as they traveled a bit and had plenty of family time in their nine sunset years together. When Paul passed, Marquita was welcomed into the home of her daughter, Karen.
Beautiful Marquita often said, “Love is not divided. It is multiplied”. She poured out love, and it spilled over onto everyone she encountered. With an angelic capacity to see the good in people, and to bring out the best in everyone she met, Marquita was a visionary. She was honest, but not so honest that it would hurt another. She was accepting but didn't settle. Marquita was the most extraordinary mother a family of twelve could ever have hoped for. There was always enough, always room for one more, and always a place for you at her table.
"Come on in! There is room enough for you. You are welcome here."