Marilyn Moorcroft, 76, literary, active senior

Marilyn Moorcroft.

BY RICK HILL | Longtime West Village resident Marilyn Ann Moorcroft died Sat., Aug 18, at age 76 at the hospice of Manhattan’s Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home, at York Ave. and E. 71st St.

She was cremated and a memorial service with the Rite of Christian Burial was performed by Father Edwin Chinery at the Church of the Ascension on Aug. 28.

Among those present at the memorial were friends from her Greenwich Village senior center and church, along with senior center staffers Roberto Roma, facilities coordinator, and Loretta Wilson, dining hall supervisor, along with her sister Margaret Blackford from California and Father Ed.

Marilyn was born July 23, 1942, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the third of four children and second of two daughters. She graduated there from George Washington High School before earning a B.A. in 1964 at the University of Iowa in nearby Iowa City.

Of German-Swiss ancestry, her parents Ralph and Emma Moorcroft were born in Iowa along with other generations. Her father was a mailman, her mother a homemaker.

Marilyn had lived in Manhattan and Greenwich Village since the 1960s, working mostly in publishing as a German-English translator.

In her recent years, she was active at the Center on the Square / Greenwich House senior center at 20 Washington Square North, between Fifth Ave. and MacDougal St., as well as at Church of the Ascension, an Episcopal church on Fifth Ave. at W. 10th St.

Senior center friend Kyungja Lee visited her at the hospice two weeks before Marilyn’s passing, and recalled Marilyn’s friendship in her last years in sharing jokes and language books.

Senior center director Laura Marceca wrote of Marilyn, “She brightened up the center on a daily basis. She was a great singer and dancer and was a wonderful contribution to the Showtime group! She was a good person, a wonderful friend and was full of life! She was on the center’s advisory board for the past year. She was very involved with the ‘Let’s Talk’ discussion group and enjoyed going on group trips. Marilyn was a nice and kind person and will be deeply missed.”

While Marilyn died of congestive heart failure, it was cancer, which had become especially aggressive, that brought her to the hospital and nursing home.

Village senior center friend Elizabeth Carnesecchi recalled Marilyn’s many kindnesses and how she “called the numbers” at lunch there.

After Elizabeth nominated Marilyn to the seven-member center advisory board, Marilyn was elected and served extremely ably, many recalled.

Post-college, Marilyn taught for a year and lived in Germany, as well. While German wasn’t spoken at home in Iowa growing up, Marilyn was fluent in the language.

She lived at 23 Barrow St. in the heart of the West Village in a fifth-floor walk-up apartment.

Friends and her lovely older sister Margaret recalled how Marilyn loved poetry, writing, literature, movies, small performances, knitting and activism. Both Margaret and Marilyn were blessed with beauty and high cheekbones.

She often danced and sang in both German and English, often in costume, at the seasonal variety shows with the Showtime group at the senior center.

The consensus was that Marilyn led a quiet life, fiercely independent, living life on her terms and facing bravely her sunset years with their health challenges.

In the last year, she was often seen alone with her head down on the table, resting at the senior center, as well as at various Starbucks or at the McDonald’s at W. Third St. and Sixth Ave.

A friend at the memorial remarked that others might have viewed her as a Village eccentric.

Others would see her at movies that showed at the church or senior center in her hoodie for warmth and sitting close to the screen for her hearing.

Marilyn is referred to in the Nov. 23, 1978, New York Review of Books in a piece by Nigel Dennis about the German language, Hitler and Gunter Grass.

Along with others, she copyedited and proofread “The Goddess, A Moveable Feast,” by fellow senior author Andrew J. Da Silva of W. 11th St.

And earlier, in 1981, she wrote a book for young people, “Investigative Reporting” (Franklin Watts, 1981).

Two of her lifelong close friends were Donna Herrbach and Rose Kalinsky.

She leaves her sister Margaret, a retired kindergarten teacher, from Menlo Park, California, in the Palo Alto area, along with two brothers, Ronald, in assisted living, and Lowell, also both in California.

After Marilyn and her sister retired, they became closer, and Marilyn grew active in the senior center, as well as the church.

Father Ed and Marilyn were close with their involvement in the Sunday service, the church barbecues and the Resistance Cinema series on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., featuring free hard-hitting documentaries on cutting-edge social and ecological justice issues.

After the funeral service, the two dozen assembled broke into an impromptu recollection from the pews of Marilyn as a cheerful, kind and good soul.

Shep, a church member, read an elegant op-ed piece by Marilyn intended for The New York Times bemoaning the loss of a bookstore, yet another vanishing part of Greenwich Village culture. It was unclear if it was published.

Father Ed and others recalled her moxie and her big-city no-nonsense front masking her big heart.

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