Marjorie was born on September 4,1920, in Honolulu,Territory of Hawaii, and passed away on January 12, 2023 at the age of 102, in Madison, Alabama. She was an accomplished artist, mainly painting in oils. She also had a “green thumb” for gardening, raising orchids, and creating bonsai plants. She could fix or build almost anything she wanted, even into her late 90’s! Our mom was very creative and talented, and helped build her own sailboat when she was a teenager. Her days often included sailing solo in the calm waters of Kaneohe Bay near her parent’s vacation home and horseback riding on the beach with a friend while wearing her custom-made jodhpurs. Marjorie was also very close to her sister Eloise Mae “Sue” Thornes. Sadly, Sue passed away in January 2022.
Marjorie Helen Marques graduated from McKinley High School in Honolulu in 1937. Interestingly, she attended Roosevelt High School until one day when she and her friends decided they’d rather attend McKinley. They transferred schools, just like that, without even asking their parents. Those were the days! While attending Roosevelt, she was a member of the ROTC, sponsored by her friend, classmate, and cadet captain Alfred Apaka, who later became a well-known Hawaiian singer. After high school, Marjorie continued her studies in business school and became an executive secretary. She was employed by the German consul in Hawaii, and later worked for executives with AmFac (one of the “Big Five” companies in Hawaii).
In November 1941, Marjorie married William Bains, and they later changed their names to Bains-Jordan, out of respect to our dad’s parents and stepfather, as was English custom. While raising three children, our mother was also a substitute teacher at a private school, and was a Girl Scout leader for Brownies. She was a fun leader, and also took our troop to simple cooking classes at Hawaiian Electric, with “Reddy Kilowatt”. Two of her children, John and Kathy, were born on the same day five years apart. Instead of joint birthday parties, each child had a separate party taking turns every other year of having a home party or going to the skating rink, a movie, or other fun places. She also made amazing elaborate birthday cakes for all three of us, whatever we chose. I also recall the creative Easter hats for our “Easter parades” at school, which were amazing.
Marjorie often talked of her honeymoon in Kaneohe Bay, during which Hawaii was bombed by Japan making it a chaotic and scary time! The aircraft of the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe Bay at 7:52 am on Sunday morning December 7, 1941. This was eight minutes before the attacks on Pearl Harbor, according to historical accounts. While our dad went out to help direct traffic as everyone was panicking, our mom was also panicking being left alone in the house! She would recall looking up and seeing the eyes of a Japanese bomber who was leaning his head out of his plane, looking down at her. They had to have blackout draperies at the windows, or keep the lights off, and darken their car lights, leaving just a pinhole of light visible. Residents were expected to have trenches dug in their yards so they could escape to the trenches during air raid drills, or in case of another attack. It was definitely a hard and difficult time in Hawaii, as Hawaii was under martial law from 1941-1944.
Our parents divorced in Dec 1963, and they later married others. Our mom met a wonderful man, Seabern F. “Jeff” Davis in Hawaii, and they dated several years before marrying in Sept 1972. He had grown up in Alabama, and was quite the “Southern Gentleman”. After retirement, they moved to Alabama and had a great life till he passed away in 2002. When our dad also became widowed, our parents rekindled their relationship and remarried each other in Feb 2004. They first moved to our dad’s home in Lanikai, Hawaii, and later moved to Huntsville, Alabama to live near their youngest daughter Kathy. Their house was right on the lake, which they both loved! They were a big help to each other in their later years, until our dad passed away at the age of 104, in February 2021.
Marjorie loved to travel! She has traveled all over Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. She especially loved traveling to her beloved island of Madeira, where her ancestors, including great-grandfather Augusto Dias lived before arriving in Honolulu in 1879. Dias played a pivotal role in the transformation of the Madeiran machete (instrument) to the Hawaiian ukulele. He also entertained the King with his ukulele, sometimes accompanied by Robert Louis Stevenson on his flute. Marjorie loved playing the ukulele, and was proud of her ukulele heritage. She would usually play “by ear” and had quite an ear for the right notes. In her declining years she could easily tell if her ukulele needed tuning! Growing up, she and her friends did not have portable radios, but always had a fun time playing their ukuleles together.
Our beloved mother loved being a mom, as well as being “Tutu”, which is Hawaiian for grandmother. She will be greatly missed by her family, and everyone that knew her. After she passed, a friend said “Everyone who ever met her or interacted with her was so blessed to have been given the opportunity to do so”. She was also referred to as being such a sweet, loving person.
Marjorie’s survivors include her three children, John Bains-Jordan (Betty Jean), Patricia Bains-Jordan (Don Swart), and Kathy Davenport (Glenn). She is also survived by her five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
We’d like to thank the wonderful caregivers who took care of our parents for a few months in their home. We would also like to thank the nurses and staff at Madison Manor, where our mom lived for the past two years, and had excellent loving care. One of her special nurses was Tina, and we’ll be forever grateful for the love she showed our mom, especially in her final days.