Remembering Glorian Mairs

Glorian Mairs and husband Omie built and operated Mairs Market in Independence starting in the mid-1940s.  Mairs was the center of Independence which was a bustling little town back then with DWP headquarters, lots of county employees living in town, a bank branch, a doctor’s office and hundreds more people than today.  Mairs provided food, clothes, hardware and paint.  Glorian was a kind of matriarch of the town.  She died last week.  Glorian was 87.

Daughter Mary Mairs said Glorian had been living with son Danny and his wife Gwen in Keene, California, at the time of her death.  Mary told of how Glorian’s father was a welder for the Department o Water and Power and when Glorian was 10, he was transferred to June Lake from Southern California. Later her father was transferred to Independence.  Glorian graduated from Owens Valley High School and went back to the Glendale area to college to become a nurse.  She returned to Independence where she met Omie Mairs who had just purchased the local store.  She worked side by side with Omie in Mairs Market.

Daughter Mary said her mother assumed the role of the town guru on hardware.  She took care of the town’s folks needs.  Relatives said Glorian loved her family, friends, children, dogs and work.  She retired at 75 when the store was sold.  She loved visiting parts of the Valley.  Glorian Mairs had dreams, too.  She wanted to be a pilot.  She loved trains.  She helped her husband in his dreams and she always took a major role in community events.

Graveside services for Glorian Mairs will be held Friday, January 27th at 11 am at the Independence Cemetery. Following is the detailed obituary written by daughter Mary Mairs:

“Glorian’s loving heart stopped on Jan. 18, 2012 at her son’s home in Keene. Glorian had been living with Danny and Gwen since her health began failing in November. Optimal Hospice performed in home care for Glorian and her lifelong friend Gladys Mitchell Coulter, who also lived with Danny and Gwen Mairs. Glorian was born on Aug. 4, 1925 in Van Nuys to Merida Crumley Howard and Frank Howard.
Frank Howard, Glorian’s father, was a welder for the Department of Water and Power and when Glorian was 10 he was transferred to June Lake. The family spent November to February without electricity or indoor plumbing. They moved back to Van Nuys, and then in 1938 he was transferred to Independence on her 12th birthday. She graduated from Owens Valley High School and went back to the Glendale area to college to become a nurse. Her savings quickly ran out and she moved back to Independence to “sling hash” at Jim’s Café, where she had worked throughout high school.
In 1945 she met Omie, who had just purchased Krater’s Store next to Jim’s Cafe. They were married in 1946 where she worked side by side with Omie in Mairs’ Market. Glorian assumed the role of the town guru on hardware. Whoever came to the store looking for nuts, bolts or plumbing fixtures would go to Glorian, as she knew exactly what you would need. She had very few relatives until she married Omie and became related to “half of Owens Valley.”
Glorian loved her family, her friends, her children, her dogs and working. She had to quit working at 75 years old when the store was sold. She had a difficult time adapting to home life, and missed the social interaction with her customers and friends. She soon filled the days reading, crocheting and playing with “her first dog” when she was 75 years old.
She took an annual trip the first week of February to see the newborn calves in Smith’s and Lacey’s field. She enjoyed going to the Fort and seeing the lambs and visiting the horses. She enjoyed trips to Mazourka Canyon and was very upset when the “bureau craps” blocked the road to her favorite spring.
Her dream was to become a jet or airplane pilot. When the children were in high school she had the opportunity to take flying lesson, but Omie “wouldn’t let me … too dangerous.” She also liked trains and was so happy when Danny moved to Keene. There she could sit and listen to the train whistle.
Omie always had something in the works. From trout to the Dodgers, Glorian helped wrap the fish. She also helped Santa at the Court House. Glorian stuffed socks with candy and oranges, and helped wrapped gifts. Easter egg hunts found Glorian dying eggs. There were also dances at the old fire house with Glorian providing refreshments.
She was president of the Business and Professional Women’s Club for two terms in the 1960s.
Glorian is preceded in death by her husband, Omie; son, Bill; brother, Leonard; parents; and two brothers-in-law, Chet Smith and Lanny Vesty.
She is survived by her children, daughter, Mary of Independence; and her son and daughter-in-law, Danny and Gwen Mairs of Keene; and daughter-in-law, Margaret and Al Hurley. She is also survived by her sister, Lela Vesty of Fallon Nev.; daughter-in-law, Margaret of Independence; and sister-in-law, Shirley of Oregon. She leaves behind her grandsons and their wives, Chuck and Adrienne, Mike and Kristen, Doug and Loralee, Matt and Amanda, and Jeremy and Elizabeth; great-grandchildren, Dylan, Legend, Andrea, Legacy, Wil, Sadie, Waylon, Mack, Jimbo, James and Lane, born just twelve hours after her passing; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends and her canine companions, Lennie and Maggie.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at the Independence Cemetery with Pastor Erin Maddox McPhee officiating.
Donations in Glorian’s memory may be made to Carson Colorado Railroad, P.O. Box 194, Independence, CA 93526, or any charity of your choice. “Glorian was the heart of Independence.”


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3 Responses to Remembering Glorian Mairs

  1. Sabrina Barton January 27, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Glorian was much loved by those who knew her. We lived in Independence in the 1970’s and as Mary said, she truly was the heart of Independence.

  2. Sandy Sepsey January 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Glorian was a Matriarch of Independence…she helped raise the towns children and tipped their parents off to their mischevious ways the time when everyone in town had a charge account at Mairs Market she would let you know when one of our children charged something she knew would not be ok with us, saving us dollars that she knew we couldn’t afford…thank you Glorian for your friendship and kindness all those years …We will miss you! Special thoughts and prayer’s to Mary , Danny and family….Independence will never be the same without Glorian and Mairs Market!

  3. Charles James January 28, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    While working on an Inyo Register’s “2011 Unsung Hero Award” for her daughter-in-law Margaret Mairs, I had the privilege of speaking several times with Glorian Mairs in late September. She was an absolute delight! She not only shared a lot of the Mairs’ family history with me, but also about the people and the Town of Independence. It was very obvious that she loved them all!

    During our talk she mentioned that her health was not so good and how much she appreciated Margaret, Mary, and others in town looking after her. She is one of the select few in a community whose personal life serves as an example for others to follow. Our world was a obviously a better place with Glorian Mairs in it. My heart and prayers go out to her family and all that loved and cherished her. She was an absolute wonder.


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