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Marie Alley

September 23, 1939 ~ December 8, 2021 (age 82)



Marie Alley died peacefully, and in the comforting presence of her husband and son, on December 8, 2021, at the age of 82.  She was born in Herford, Germany on September 23, 1939.  Her parents Helmut and Gustl Winkelmann owned a small hotel and restaurant, which was commandeered by the German army for officers’ quarters during World War II.  For most of the war, she lived on her grandparents’ farm, where bombs did not fall and food was ample, although basic.  After allied victory, the British likewise commandeered the hotel, returning it in 1951.


Early in life, Marie showed an adventurous spirit.  From school, she went to London as an au pair, and then obtained a one year work permit to sell jewelry in Washington, D.C.  There, she met a third-year Georgetown law student, Paul Dommer.  At the end of her year and her return to Germany, Paul pursued and married her.  They had two children, Mark (dec. 2011) and Eric.  After a brief period practicing law in Buffalo, N.Y., Paul elected to practice in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC).  He was posted to Fort Bliss, Texas, Germany, Vietnam, and the Pentagon.  In August 1975, he died suddenly working out in the Pentagon gym.


To support her family as a single mother, she worked as a law office manager for the prestigious Washington firm.  In 1976, she began attending area-wide JAGC functions.  After a large party, she accepted a dinner date with another judge advocate, Colonel (later Brigadier General) Wayne Alley.  Within a few months, they fell deeply and enduringly in love, and married in January 1978.  She became a devoted stepmother to Elizabeth, David and John (dec. 1991).  Six months later, he was reassigned from the Pentagon to Heidelberg, Germany, which delighted Marie.  She enjoyed three years of proximity to her mother, brother Helmut, and extended family.  In 1981, Wayne took an early retirement from the Army to become Dean of the College of Law, University of Oklahoma.  They lived in Norman ever after.


Marie worked part-time as a travel agent, but devoted enormous energy serving the community, primarily in support of the arts.  She was a record-setting fund raiser for Norman’s Firehouse Art Center, and was president of the Friends of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and then the OU Theatre Guild.  The university appointed her to the board of visitors of the College of Fine Arts, for which she was also a prodigious fund raiser, primarily organizing annual theater trips to New York and London.  She was honored with commemorative plaques by the board of regents of the university, the City of Norman as Arts Person of the Year, and by the governor of Oklahoma for Community Service for the Arts.


In 2006, Marie took a dreadful blow, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.  Her symptoms were initially mild but were aggravated by a stroke in 2012.  Gradually she lost mobility.  With support of her husband and many friends, she carried on until her death.  Marie was ever a giver, not a taker, generous, good hearted, and loving.  Marie was an avid gardener, never as happy as with a trowel in her hand.


She is survived by her husband Wayne; son Eric; step children Beth and David Alley; brother Helmut; and grandchildren Morgan Alley, and Austin, Sophie, Evan, and Lukas Dommer. 


Donations in memory of Marie may be made to the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma.




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Funeral Mass
December 20, 2021

2:00 PM
St. Thomas More University Parish
1535 Jenkins Avenue
Norman, OK 73072

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