Marie Frances Sanowski, 91, ranching pioneer and business entrepreneur, passed away on February 17, 2022, after a brief illness.
The youngest of five children born to Sicilian parents, Marie was born on June 3, 1930, in Passaic, NJ. She married the love of her life, Bill Sanowski Jr., on November 30, 1946. The couple raised four children and moved their family to Bend, Oregon in 1960.
Marie and her husband Bill operated the Horseshoe Boys Ranch in Bend for more than a decade for boys aged 7-17 years-old attending from as far away as Sweden and Italy. The ranch taught horsemanship, camping, fishing and rodeo events to campers who also did daily ranch chores and helped put up the ranch’s hay. The ranch’s summer programs, featured in Sunset Magazine, culminated with a four-day horseback camping trip along the Cascade Skyline Trail and continues to be fondly remembered by hundreds of former campers around the globe.
In addition to developing and running numerous ranches in Central and Eastern Oregon and Montana, the Sanowski’s owned and operated the Berg’s Motel in Bend and the Fireside Lodge Restaurant in Prairie City.
A Life Member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Marie and her husband Bill brought some of the first registered Quarter Horses to Oregon and were devoted to breeding horses with good minds and solid conformation. Several of the Sanowski’s horses were sold to Hollywood film companies and appeared in such films as Shenandoah and the television series Have Gun, Will Travel and Gunsmoke. The entrepreneurial spirit also infused their cattle breeding program as they were some of the first in Oregon to cross Charolais bulls on their purebred Hereford cows.
Marie was preceded in death by her husband of more than fifty years, Bill Sanowski Jr., in July 1999, her sister Carol and brothers Frank and Sam and her grandson, John Whitehurst.
She is survived by her four children; Bill Sanowski, Teresa Scott, Kathleen Hoffman and John Sanowski; her brother, Angelo "Ginge" Lamendola; 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 10 great, great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass and burial service will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2022, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Prineville at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by a celebration of life reception in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Boys Town are being accepted in Marie’s name at https://gofund.me/d568c849.