Marion Morris Mauk
Marion Hulett Morris Mauk, a pioneer journalist, volunteer activist, mother of three and wife of 67 years died March 8 in Baltimore, MD at age 94. She was born February 19, 1920, in Malone, NY to John Arthur Morris, Sr., and Sarah Emma Hulett Morris and raised in Ogdensburg, NY. During summer, the family would retire to "camp," a house along the St. Lawrence River, a period among the happiest times of her life. Her older brother John Arthur (Jack) and younger brother Harold (Hike) recalled that all considered Marion very bright. She was second in her high school class and won a 4 year scholarship to St. Lawrence University. This achievement was a huge blessing to her family, which struggled during the depression. After graduation, she found work as a journalist, pioneering women at local daily papers at a time that many men were drafted for WWII. She worked first at the Watertown Daily Times in NY and later at the Providence Journal in Rhode Island. While initially her work was confined to women's social club news, over time she expanded to obituaries and then other hard news and features. Seeking an adventure, Marion applied to the Red Cross in 1944. By the time she was accepted, the war with Japan had ended. She was hired to set up and operate canteens in Japan, where servicemen could relax, have a meal and hear music. She recalled the ship across the Pacific and seeing the devastation in the Philippines: the upended ships, one after another in the harbor was even more unsettling than seeing the devastation of Hiroshima. In Japan, on one long train ride, she met her future husband, Frederick Henry (Fritz) Mauk who was also the army's liaison to the club where she worked. They married in Yokohama. Marion and Fritz raised three children, building a home in Long Beach, CA in 1959, where they lived for more than 40 years. With children in school, Marion launched a career as a freelance writer. She was most proud of pieces that showed off her keen sense of humor, using family life or current aspects of culture for her observations. Her interests were also political. She interviewed prominent black women for an article on "Black Studies" published in "The New Republic" in 1969 and explored new curricula and colleges in a 1970s article in "Mademoiselle." She published a great deal in the Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press-Telegram and many other publications. Marion co-wrote a well-received book, "Staying in Love" (another printing was called "Keeping Love Alive") with radio psychologist Norton Kristy. Marion and Fritz made their closest friends at a Great Books Book Club at the Long Beach Library. That group continued for about 40 years. Lively discussion was part of the make-up of family life as well, with friends recalling vividly the "pre-dinner hour" when nightly the family would share in debate and discussion on the day's reading, activities and news. Marion joined the Unitarian Universalist Church in Long Beach when the children were small, and was an active member throughout her life, including after Fritz and Marion's 2002 move to live with son Fred in Baltimore, where she joined the First UU Church. She was also active in a variety of social efforts and the League of Women Voters. Both she and Fritz were energetic debaters on ideas and policies they felt were important. "She was the real firebrand," Fritz notes. With people, Marion had a gentle touch. She is remembered by friends and family for her social nature, her great sense of humor, and above all for her decency and kindness. She leaves behind husband Fritz Mauk; children Frederick Henry Mauk, Jr. of Baltimore (Azam Khan), Barry Hulett Mauk of Laurel, MD (Robin Yampolsky Mauk) and Pamela Anne Mauk (Mark Cross); grandchildren Ben and Julia Mauk and Kathleen and Will Cross; brother Hike Morris, nieces Susan Pepe, Sandra McBride, Connie Morris-Pease, grandnieces and nephews and many other extended family members and friends. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the League of Women Voters, UNICEF or the
. Please sign the guestbook at www.presstelegram.com/obits.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on Mar. 30, 2014