Dear Family (and we are a family) of SOSL,
Since you are so important and special to me, I wanted to write you a letter to tell you a little about me. I was born on Feb. 1922 in my Grandmother’s home in Iago, Texas. I am from a family of 4 including my parents and two brothers (one died at age 2 and the other at age 56). I met my husband, Richard, (Dick) Wentz at a Berachah Bible Church in Houston, TX. I attended college in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute and later Dick and I were married. We were married for 50 years and had five children.
Our first child Donna was born in 1946; Susan in 1947, Mary in 1949, Sharon in 1953, and Stephen in 1959. Donna, our oldest, was a good student, popular and driven to excel. She became ill at age 23 years and attempted to take her life several times before she ended her life at age 34 when she jumped from the Coronado Bay Bridge for the second time on April 25, 1980.
Our son, Stephen was in college, working part time and married to Mary Ann. He was on drugs and became angry one day when he thought his wife was involved with other college students. He shot and killed her on May 22, 1986 and then took his own life.
I was working for the FBI in San Diego and I deeply felt the pain of my son doing such a horrible thing. I took a leave of absence as I was in no condition physically or mentally to concentrate. The pain I felt literally made me so ill I could not function. I received a lot of support from the FBI employees including the SAC (Special Agent in Charge). I shall forever be grateful for their support.
And then suicide touched our family again, my daughter, Mary had one son born February 2, 1971. Matthew was attending college in Oceanside, CA when he hung himself on a tree limb on the campus grounds on March 23, 1989. We don’t know why he did this, but then we never really seem to know why people take their lives. The only explanation I have heard that makes any sense is that they become so desperate in their thinking that they believe ending their lives is the only answer to escape the severe mental pain they are experiencing.
It has been a long journey since my first child ended her life. It’s something you never “get over” you just learn to live with what has happened. I turned to my Heavenly Father to help and He so graciously did. Over the years, SOSL provided the support that Dick and I could not find anywhere else. Our thoughts and feelings were validated and we found a community that understood us.
After Dick passed away, I married Larry Hane and after his passing, I married Bill Mays who passed away just a few years later. All of my husbands were very supportive of SOSL and cooperated well in all my endeavors. Dorothy Godfrey and Theresa Onak Lunetta were also very significant in my SOSL volunteering.
Marie passed away on July 28, 2013. Marie and Dick were an integral part of SOSL from the beginning and were instrumental in establishing SOSL as a non-profit corporation in 1992. They tirelessly served as volunteers in every area of SOSL including facilitating support groups, publishing the newsletter, answering the SOSL Support Line, serving on the Board and serving as Executive Directors. Right up until the time of her death, Marie served on the SOSL Advisory Board and her dedication to helping survivors did not diminish as the years passed. Even after turning 91, Marie’s mind was as sharp as ever and she continued to provide wise counsel and support. We continue to hear from people Marie helped, and they send their love and gratitude for the impact she had on their lives. There are no words to adequately express the immeasurable influence Marie had on countless number of lives over the years. Thank you, Marie, for your years of service, we are forever grateful and you will be missed.
Please click here to view the Marie Mays Memorial Wall.