MARCIA ORI BLASCOE, 61 ROCKFORD - Marcia Ori Blascoe, age 61, loving mother, decorated educator, sister, doting grandmother, devoted partner and a cherished friend to many passed away with her family and closest friends at her side on September 12, 2013. Marcia was born on July 2, 1952 in Highland Park, IL, the youngest child of Renzo and Albeana Ori, immigrants from Pievepelago, Italy. Marcia was a caring, thoughtful and highly respected member of the community with an extraordinary exuberance for life and all its wonders. Strong, purposeful and always looking toward the sun, Marcia never met a stranger. Her ability to communicate with people on a professional and personal level opened doors to many beautiful, long-lasting friendships and a fulfilling career in the Rockford Public School District. Her spirit was the light of every room, the "capo della famiglia" at every dinner table, and the sage that provided guidance through tough times. She left an eternal impression on everyone and everything she touched like a ripple in the ocean traveling far and wide. She was a news-junky, avid reader and conversationalist who thoroughly enjoyed a heated discussion. If her head wasn't buried in a book or magazine she could often be found tending to her impressive garden the epicenter for all the necessary ingredients to cook the food of her people. A master of northern Italian cuisine, people came from far and wide to sit at Marcia's table. As a mother, Marcia's nurturing spirit was unrivaled. Life was her classroom, educating her children at every turn. Her children were raised from a very young age to not only appreciate life in the present but to understand the history of her family, how we came to this country and how important a sense of identity and culture are in this world. Described by her son as his "Mamma Orsa (Momma Bear)", Marcia would do anything for her children, and raise a stern paw to anyone who got in their way. She was her children's biggest cheerleader, supporting them through thick and thin, and that support allowed her children to flourish into the people they were always meant to become. Marcia was so very excited to become a "Noni" and her granddaughter, Leah Bea, was the light of her life. The second they laid eyes on each other, they were smitten. Noni left an everlasting imprint on Leah Bea every time she would see her. Noni was reading books to her when she was only days old. She also told her stories of her cooking and how they would make tortellacci's together and one day visit Italy, the country she loved so much. She will live forever in their hearts. When Marcia's colleagues talk about her, she is referenced as an inspirational trailblazer, raising the status quo and constantly striving toward a better tomorrow. Marcia was a profound advocate of education as shown by her illustrious career. She was decorated with countless awards and accreditations. She began her career as a Speech and Language Pathologist. Her intellect was quickly noticed and she was awarded the position of Supervisor and Principal of Early Childhood Education at Fairview Early Childhood Center a position she held for nearly 15 years. She then took the position as Early Childhood Director for the Rockford Public School District, where she remained until retirement. Anyone who knew Marcia would know that she was not one for "retirement" and she quickly took the position of Early Childhood Director at Rockford University where she created, implemented, and executed a curriculum of early childhood studies. Throughout her career, she received the following awards and accreditation. Mildred Berry Award for Education, March 2002, YMCA Annual Leadership Luncheon. Illinois State Board of Education, Those Who Excel, October 9, 1999, Springfield, Ill. Rockford Education Association, Those Who Excel, April 1999. Illinois Educator of the Year for Inclusive Education, Illinois TASH, 2/24/98. Recognition Award for School Speech and Language Pathologist, 2/88. Recipient, Winnebago County Therapist of the Year, 1987. Recipient, National Therapist of the Year, AMBUS, 1987. Marcia received a B.S, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Southern Illinois University followed by M.A., Speech Pathology, Northern Illinois University. Marcia is survived by her two children, Alicia (Jay) Sturges, Benjamin Blascoe; sister, Janice Ori; granddaughter, Leah Bea Sturges; nephew, Max OriAbse; her many adoring cousins; and her devoted and loving partner, Steve McKeever. Amare e non essere amato, quanto risponde sens esser chiamato. (Meaning: If you are bored or idle, start doing some work.) In order to further the progression of early childhood education in northern Illinois, Marcia has established a scholarship. Please make donations out to the Marica Blascoe Early Childhood Education Scholarship. A celebration of her life will be held at Giovanni's from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Please come for drinks and pay your respects to one very special woman. Salud!