Maria Almodovar Obituary- Georgia Archaeologist and Friend

Maria (Marilyn) Almodovar

September 9, 1949 – February 14, 2018

Maria (Marilyn) Almodovar passed away Wednesday, February 14, 2018, due to dementia-related complications.  Two of her closest friends were at her bedside near Aiken, South Carolina where she had been under hospice care. She was 68.

Maria was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 1949, the only child of U.S. Army Master Sargent Jose Almodovar and Santa Elena Lamberty Almodovar (deceased).  As part of a military family, Maria was well traveled as a child, living in Germany, Oklahoma, and finally the home base of Fort Benning, Georgia. The travel bug extended throughout her life and as an adult took her all over the United States, Mexico, South America, and Europe.  After receiving her degree in Anthropology from Georgia State University, she was part of a summer study in the Yucatan Peninsula concentrating on children’s nutrition.  While continuing to live in Atlanta, she worked as an archeologist for several years on projects across the nation.  She left archaeology in the late 1980s to work for the University of Georgia library system in Athens as a children’s specialist.  Maria returned to Atlanta in the early 1990s to take courses in herbal medicine and create jewelry based on her archaeological experience.  In the late 1990s she moved to the Asheville area to take a job as an herbalist while continuing her passion for jewelry making.  After a few years, Maria decided to make a major change to ensure a good future as she got older.  She took a job at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Asheville, which allowed her to buy a house and put money away for her retirement.  However, about 10 years later, her journey changed radically with a diagnosis of early onset dementia. Maria had just turned 62.  She took the news calmly, continued to exude her signature optimism to lessen the blow to her friends and family, and embraced her diagnosis with bravery.  Maria was able to stay in her house two and a half years with the help of friends and wonderful part time caregivers then moved to assisted living first in Hendersonville, North Carolina and then Aiken, South Carolina in 2015 to be close to her friend and main caregiver, Beth Gantt.

Maria will be remembered for her infectious laugh, fathomless compassion, and love of life.  She made the world a better place for those she touched – that she died on Valentine’s Day was fitting, since Maria was all heart.

Maria is survived by two beloved aunts – Olga Palmer of Florida and Alicia Almodovar of Puerto Rico, a number of first cousins, including Aimee Acevedo, Odette Lamberty, and Monica Valville, and a multitude of friends.   A celebration of Maria’s life will be held in Asheville in May (time and place to be announced at a later date).  Part of her ashes will be interred with her parents at the Fort Benning cemetery in a ceremony later this year.

Online condolances may be expressed at  Arlington Burial and Cremation, 1220 George C. Wilson Drive, Suite C, Augusta, Georgia 30909.  762-994-0311