Marie Atwell, longtime community supporter, passed away April 22, 2023. She gave so much.
Marie Louise Wagner was born in Lewiston, Idaho May 5, 1941, to Edward F. and Louise E. Wagner. Marie was born with a passion for all things dramatic and after graduating from Lewiston High School, where she was the school’s mascot, a Bengal, she attended theatrical school at the famed Pasadena Playhouse in California (oh the stories she told). This experience, combined with her classical ballet training, led her to community theater, live television, media, modeling and acting in California, Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho.
Boise Little Theater, Daughters of the Nile and the El Korah Shrine Players all benefited from Marie’s love of the theater and of the Boise community as she donated countless hours both at center stage and behind the scenes. Her ability to both stage and promote a production turned into a career that spanned many roles including at Karcher Mall and the Bazaar where she pioneered retail “events” (a new concept, at the time) throughout the region, partnering with sponsors like Seventeen Magazine and the Morrison Center.
In 1989, the newly formed Idaho Centennial Commission, lured Marie away to stage the statewide celebration for Idaho’s centennial. Marie was in her heyday putting on parties for her beloved state, including 1,500 special occasions in 1990 that culminated over the Fourth of July holiday with a 43-hour celebration for the birthday of the 43rd state in the Union. The celebration was a great success and led to the creation of her event company SHOWS ETC.
SHOWS ETC. opened in 1991 and for the next twenty-five years Marie, along with her daughter Heather, delighted in helping clients reimagine events from fashion shows, fundraisers, galas, and tradeshows – as Marie believed all events could be great. Events included Saint Alphonsus’ Festival of Trees, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital Kid for a Night, The Winter Games of Idaho, the Boise Holiday Parade, First Thursday, Boise River Festival, the Humanitarian Bowl and the Idaho Capital Rededication – to name a few. Under her leadership Burgers for Bikes-Bikes for Kids was developed and she created the unique Fables and Fantasies Come to Life.
Marie earned her Certified Festival and Event Executive credentials from the International Festivals and Events Association and was a mentor to budding event professionals around the world.
Marie never tired of giving to her community and was thrilled to sit on the boards of the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (YWCA then) and Ballet Idaho. As a charter member of the group, Women in Management, Marie and her peer group of influential women in Boise, Idaho danced on that glass ceiling. Even after “retiring” circa 2017, Marie was actively involved in the Boise Holiday Parade through sponsorship acquisition and even performed in two Boise Music Week productions.
Marie’s passion and dedication over the past thirty-five years created thousands of events that are part of the fabric of Boise and will forever live on in the memories of the local families who enjoyed them. To honor Marie, take a moment to talk about your favorite events and consider supporting a
local fundraiser or event in her honor.
Marie was preceded in death by her husband Art Atwell. She is survived by an immeasurable number of friends, the Atwell kids, Cindy, Betsy and Gregg, her daughter and best friend Heather Murray Price, son-in-law Brian Price (and his truck) and grandson Callan Murray Price, with whom she had a special bond through much laughter and playing duets on their pump organ.
A Celebration in Marie’s honor will be held on Tuesday, May 2 at Hillcrest Country Club at 5:00 PM.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marie Atwell, please visit our floral store.