Marjorie Amelia Brobst Nevitt

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  • "What a wonderful and great woman. I met Marjorie on..."
    - Joan W.
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    - Sasha Weinmann
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It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our mother, Marjorie Amelia Nevitt, of Kentfield, Calif., on Friday, July 21, 2017, just after her 90th birthday celebration, due to progression of myelodysplasia.

Our mom was born July 9, 1927, to a Pennsylvania Dutch family in Wilkes-Barre, with relatives extending into the towns of Hamburg, Virginville and Nuremberg. Her mother, Clara Werley, was a graduate of Oberlin College and a strong community leader, and her father, Albert Brobst, was a local attorney, skilled orator and published poet. Clara kept a vibrant household that, in addition to Marjorie, included Marjorie's siblings, Henry (deceased), Betty, and a parrot named Pedro (who lived in the family for 58 years). The family was generous and community minded, often feeding the hungry from their back porch during the brutal Depression era.

Marjorie was the youngest of the family by six years. She adored her parents, but her mother was fatally hit by a car as the two of them were walking home at night hand-in-hand, after a school event, when our mom was only 8 years old. After her mother's death, Marjorie was raised mainly by her father. She often spent time (including most weekends) in the Pennsylvania mountain town of Nuremberg, where her paternal grandparents owned the general store that included a café and boarding house. Grandmother Lucy was loving, strong minded and provided our mother a structured second home along with an opportunity to work in their store. Here she acquired a lifelong love for ice cream sodas, and fondly recalled raising a baby fawn.

Marjorie attended Northwestern University, where she majored in journalism. She initially made the long journey to Northwestern alone by train "with too many suitcases to carry." She joined the Tri-Delta sorority and soon met Peter Nevitt at the sorority house, where he was putting himself through school working as a waiter. Our father went on to attend Northwestern Law School and our mother worked for a law reporting firm. The couple was married in 1951. During Peter's military service, they moved to El Paso, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Marjorie then focused on their growing family as Peter's career took them to Detroit, Winnetka, Hillsborough, La Jolla and San Francisco, before permanently settling in Kentfield, Calif., in 1978. They were married 51½ years.

Our mother loved people and people loved her. Whether we were at the Half Day Café, 1st Street Books, or waiting in line at the DMV, our mom had a knack for getting people to open-up and talk about themselves. Her great love of life also meant that we had beautiful gardens and many pets, including chickens (decades before they were cool), ducks, turtles, fish, our Mynah bird (Gaylord), our African Gray parrot (Emily), various cats, a toy poodle (Charlie) who growled at everybody but our mother, and our Golden Retriever (Katrina), as well as several litters of Katrina's puppies.

Our beautiful mother had five kids and managed a busy household, channeling her strong family and educational values. Along the way, she earned a teaching degree, taught Sunday school and served as a deaconess at the Winnetka Congregational Church. She also held leadership positions in several organizations that supported women's education, including the Women's Club of Winnetka and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She spent many years driving cancer patients to their appointments and was a patron of local artists. She was a stylish dresser, an enthusiastic storyteller and loved to sing when she vacuumed. She took great pride in her home, and decorations that included her grandmother's furniture from Nuremberg. She loved to collect sentimental objects, and her bell collection delighted her grandchildren (as did her love for ice cream). From their modest beginnings, she and our father eventually traveled widely throughout six continents.

After our father passed away in 2002, our mom was determined to live independently at her home in Kentfield. Our mother loved life and felt a strong connection to God and country. She bravely faced her illness, and focused on enjoying life, family and friends, including those from her childhood. She also loved the medical staff who showed her so much compassion and support.

She is survived by her sister, Betty May; sister-in-law, Muriel Brobst; her five children, Courtney (and Bruce Silverman), Andrew (and Teresa Nevitt), Cornelia, Gabrielle (and Marcel Losekoot) and Adam (and Bonnie Nevitt); 10 grandchildren, Joe (and Ugwechi Silverman), Isaac Silverman, Brian (and Ali Nevitt), Casey (and Duncan Johnston), Josie (and Ben Flatau), Emily Nevitt and Connor, Nicole, Ryan and Sophie Nevitt; her five great-grandchildren; and her parrot (Emily).

Our family is indebted to the staff, nurses and doctors of Marin Cancer Care and Marin General Hospital for their compassion and exceptional care they provided to our mom, and to the many anonymous donors who generously give blood to help patients like our mother.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 19 in St. John's Church, Ross, Calif., with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating blood. We also welcome donations to support a P.E.O. scholarship in our mother's name. Please make checks out to P.E.O. Sisterhood with "NE" in the memo line. Donations may be sent to the Marjorie Nevitt P.E.O. Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 100, Ross, CA 94957.
Published in Citizens' Voice on Aug. 13, 2017
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