Marie Grant Best

(Sept. 18, 1938 - Dec. 10, 2023)


Marie Grant Best died after her lung collapsed while in the Corvalis, Oregon Hospital on Dec. 10, 2023 — exactly three years after her brother Ted Grant. Her sister, Dianne Miller and significant other, Tim Melton, were by her side when she took her last breath.

Marie wrote an essay in eighth grade titled “My Story” by Marie Grant. “I was born at 12:10 a.m. on the 18th of September, in the year 1938. My parents had quite a time naming me. Finally it was either Penelope or Marie. Marie was the name that was chosen. We made our home in Lovell, Wyoming for the next five years. Then we moved to Elk Basin, Wyoming. I started school in Powell, Wyoming. Before I started school I got my hair cut for the first time.”

She went on to talk about her education, noting her sister Dianne was born when she was in the first grade. She named her teachers and the subjects she took. The highlight of the essay was her pride in being chosen to compete in the County Spelling Bee in Cody. She said her favorite subject in school was art. 

Marie expressed her love of art and creativity throughout her life and everywhere she lived. Whether on the East Coast (Long Branch, New Jersey), the West Coast (San Francisco, California) or in between (Salt Lake City, Utah and Houston, Texas), she always created and used her imagination. She wrote short stories, sketched, painted, played the piano and knitted the most incredible items from kaleidoscope-like blankets to spiral noodle scarfs. She lived through many historical events and in many iconic locations. She survived hurricanes in Texas, the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco, and a major wildfire in Oregon. She had an independent spirit, a quirky sense of humor and a quiet resilience.

Marie loved sports and encouraged her children to play, compete and grow. Teresa skied and enjoyed long distance cycling, Warren played baseball and racquetball and completed marathons, and Carol played collegiate basketball. Marie enjoyed baseball and was an avid Portland Trailblazers fan. Some of her favorite athletes included boxing legend Muhammed Ali, NFL quarterback Marcus Mariota and NBA All-Star Damian Lillard.

Family members always waited in anticipation for the unique gifts she would send. One year the grandkids got a trunk from Granny Marie’s attic filled with dress up clothes, including hats, gloves, sparkly dresses, feather boas and the favorite — a mink stole.  Other years were themed so that everyone received the same things like fancy ramen bowls, unusual kitchen utensils and exotic foods. No matter where she lived or how limited her funds, she took time to send something thoughtful and personal.

The last 15 years of her life were spent living out her dream of owning and operating a gift shop in the scenic tourist town of Lincoln City, Oregon. There she promoted local artists: painters, wood workers, glass blowers and even local authors. Glass blowers were her favorite. Tourists came from all over the country and bought handmade glass floats and coastal creations. She enjoyed hearing their stories and even had the off chance of meeting a young couple who lived on the same street where she grew up, in Powell, Wyoming.

She donated thousands to charities helping the homeless, educating children and feeding seniors who weren’t able to leave their homes. She befriended stray people, giving them little odd jobs to help them feel useful.  She touched so many peoples’ hearts and is missed by the entire community.

Close family members have come together to share stories about Marie’s colorful life with each other since her passing. She leaves behind her sister Dianne Miller of Hurricane, Utah, her children Teresa Gayl Witt (Wes), of Cypress, Texas, Warren Todd Best (Toria), of Country Club, Missouri, Carol Grace Zygmond (Jay), of Billings, Montana and her father’s sister Betty Clark of Layton, Utah. She adored and spoiled her grandkids Allie Dains, Alex Dains and Axel Best. She never got to meet grandkids Ren, Carlyn, Jaylene and Christian Zygmond but was proud of them nonetheless. Her nieces and nephews Brett Reel, Renee Reel, Brian Grant and Denice Grant Berg were very fond of her and touched her heart in special ways. 

After thoughtful consideration, Marie’s remains were cremated. Half remain in the coastal town she loved and the other half are with her sister. A family memorial is being planned to return her to the Lovell, Wyoming cemetery to lay her to rest with her brothers Gerald and Ted and parents Nolan and Irene.

Beloved daughter, sister and mother.