Off the Record: Remembering Marcy
When I started working for The Journal back in May 1985, Bruce Fenske was the publisher and general manager. But it didn’t take me long to figure out who the really ran the business.
Marcy Perry was the office manager, and she ran a tight ship. You knew, just looking at her, that she was in charge. She was a petite woman, always immaculately dressed, her hair perfectly coifed. She always looked like she had just come from the beauty salon. But she had a way of letting you know when you were starting to get on her bad side.
With me, it was usually when one of my reporters got a little sloppy filling out their expense reports. If the form wasn’t filled out to her specifications she would drop it on my desk in front of me, tapping it with her perfectly manicured fingernail and say something like:
“What’s the matter with him, why can’t he remember how to fill this out properly? Didn’t he go to COLLEGE!! He should be able to fill out a form!”
All I could do was say, “Yes, Marcy. Sorry, Marcy,” and make sure that I had my expense reports filled out properly.
Marcy cared a lot about taking care of the office properly. A messy desk or a slight spill of coffee on the carpet would have her fuming. I remember the day I came to work and found her standing at my office door, staring in disgust at the carpet.
“What’s that STAIN?” she demanded.
I looked. “What stain?” I said.
“THAT stain,” she said, pointing to the faint traffic wear from the door to behind my desk.
“That’s where I walk every day to get behind my desk,” I said. “I suppose I could jump from the door onto the filing cabinet by the desk to get behind it without stepping on the carpet,” I said.
Otherwise, Marcy and I got along very well, and she was a pleasant, very professional fellow worker.
Then came the day that we learned Marcy had been diagnosed with cancer. It had latched onto her and spread rapidly throughout her system. She was not expected to make it. She said the doctor told her she and her husband, Dean, should go to Hawaii or someplace nice while they still could. Instead, she checked with another doctor who mentioned a very experimental treatment in Bethesda, Maryland. She went out to Maryland, without much time or hope left. The doctors there had to treat her for a couple of weeks to build up her strength to withstand the treatment, which had pretty harsh side effects, but the treatment worked. Marcy survived the treatment, which defeated her cancer, and she and Dean lived many happy years together.
I remember times when I’d see Marcy and Dean at the New Ulm Country Club, having a drink at the bar after playing a round, and I’d say hi to her. Without the office concerns to worry her she was such a charming, pleasant lady. I would think what a miracle it was to see her alive and how she and Dean were enjoying life after all she went through.
Later, our reporter, Donna Weber, interviewed her about her experience, and one thing she said stood out. She told Donna that when she was battling cancer, she treated it like her job. She would get up, get dressed, do her hair and makeup just like she was going to work. Getting better WAS her work.
Marcy died on Monday, at home at the Ridgeway on German Senior Living Community. She was 87, and Alzheimer’s had claimed her when cancer couldn’t. When I head the news, I had to marvel once again at her strength, and at a life well lived.