Marcia “Bunny” Howard Dodson

By Orleans Hub Posted 5 April 2021 at 3:48 pm

HOLLEY – Marcia “Bunny” Howard Dodson passed away peacefully in Novato on March 27, 2021 surrounded by her husband of 41 years Dallas Dodson and her children. Bunny was born and raised in Holley, New York. She was the youngest daughter of Starr and Luther Howard, and sister to Patte Park and Mary Howard Lusk.

A farm girl at heart, she loved her childhood home in New York. She spent many seasons picking cherries, peaches, and apples. She attended Holley Central High and graduated in 1957. During high school, Bunny was active in the American Junior Red Cross for western New York and twice attended the University of Buffalo for summer leadership training. Bunny’s love of music originated from her Aunt Babs Howard who was her music teacher from 7th grade-12th grade. While in high school, she sang in the Chorus and the Girls Glee Club, played the French horn in the concert band, was a Drum Majorette in the marching band, a cheerleader, and participated in school government serving as class secretary and class treasurer. Following high school, she attended SUNY College at Brockport and graduated with a BS degree in Education.

In 1961, with her teaching degree in hand, she accepted her first teaching job at the newly built Mill Lane Junior High School in Farmingdale, N.Y. She was one of 75 staff members, of which most were first year teachers.

In 1962, she visited a few close friends who were teaching in California and fell in love with the Bay Area. In the summer of 1963 she drove to California in her light blue Spitfire and accepted a teaching position at Hill Junior High School in Novato teaching English. After settling in Marin, she married Joseph F. Neary in 1964 and had two children Holly and Joseph. Throughout her 38 year teaching career, she taught at Edna Maguire Elementary, Rancho Elementary, and Sinaloa Middle School. Bunny loved teaching and her many students throughout the years. Her positive attitude, beautiful smile, infectious laugh, encouraging words, and quick sense of humor created a classroom environment where all students felt important and loved.

In 1979, Bunny met and married Dallas Dodson. She and Dallas continued to live in Novato and raise their children together. Bunny loved watching her grandchildren in sports and recitals, and often volunteered in their classrooms. She sang competitively with the  Redwood Empire Sweet Adelines. She competed three times internationally attending singing competitions in Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Orlando. In recent years, Bunny enjoyed entertaining her friends and family at their cabin in Tahoe. Throughout her adult life, Bunny was a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Cancer Society, The Marin Retired Teachers Association, and a 41 year member of the Presbyterian Church of Novato where she served as a Deacon and helped with special services and events. She also served as a board member for 3 years with The Family Service Agency of Marin and was a former League President of “The Family Store” in Mill Valley.

Bunny is predeceased by her parents Starr and Luther Howard; and her sister Mary Howard Lusk. Bunny is survived by her husband, Dallas Dodson, her two children: Holly(Joe) Hass and  Joseph (Jamie) Neary, her sister Patte Park and Dallas’s children Anastasia Dodson (Julie VanTilburg) and Jake (Stacey) Dodson. Bunny is also survived by her grandchildren: Laura Hass, Olivia Hass, and Joseph Hass, Aubrey Neary, Caitlin Neary, and Patrick Neary, Luke Dodson, Zack Dodson, and Ashley Dodson, Toni and Annabelle Knox, as well as many nieces and nephews in New York and Florida.

A private burial service will be held at Valley Memorial Park Cemetery in Novato, CA. A celebration of  Bunny’s life will be held on a future date. Donations in Bunny’s name can be made to Buckelew Programs (Formerly known as Family Service Agency) Buckelew Programs, 201 Alameda Del Prado Suite 103, Novato, CA 94949 Or online at

Dallas would like to thank Lori Chudacoff and Dr. Gagandeep Kaur Sandhu as well as Bunny’s caregivers: Nurse Apple from Hospice by the Bay and Claudia, Mariana, and Lori, who provided care and comfort to Bunny.