Maria Panciera Botsford was born in Corona, N.Y., to Joseph and Jenny Panicera. When Maria was seven years old, her family moved to Shelton, Conn., where she attended grade school and high school. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in education from Southern Connecticut University and a master's degree from the University of Arizona. She returned to Connecticut after graduate school and was employed as a fisheries biologist at the Milford Marine Biological Laboratory, where she met her husband.
In 1968 she married Manton Botsford. On their wedding day they departed Connecticut for Wyoming. Maria taught school to second through seventh grades in Story, Wyo., in a one-room schoolhouse while Manton attended Sheridan College. They eventually moved to Laramie, Wyo., where Manton completed his bachelor's degree and Maria worked for the Wyoming Archives.
Maria and Manton lived all over the west with tenures in California, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. While in New Mexico Maria attended San Juan College to pursue a degree in nursing. She worked as a public health nurse in Farmington, N.M., and Safford, Ariz., before taking on rural nursing in Alaska.
They made their home in Wasilla and returned to the lower 48 in 2000, settling in Orchard City. Maria continued work as a public health nurse for the Delta County Health Department until she retired.
She was active in the Delta Doves as both a member and president, volunteered for Hope West and traveled extensively with her husband to Europe, the Cook Islands, Florida and Texas. She enjoyed the ocean, knitting, crocheting, beading, sewing, quilting and the camaraderie of others as a member of the Needlers group at Bill Heddles Recreation Center. She cared deeply about being a mother, acting as a surrogate mother to many young people throughout her life.
Mrs. Botsford died after prolonged illness on March 2, 2017. She is survived by her husband Manton; son Jed; daughter-in-law Ann; daughter Betsy; and two grandchildren, Orion and Cedar Botsford.
A remembrance gathering will be held on April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lion's Pavilion near Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta.