The Last Rose of Summer

This was mentioned in comments at TDL yesterday and I felt it deserved more attention.  Our beloved Marianne Matthews – has passed.  Reported by Maggie’s Farm this past Friday, it seems that Marianne died about a month ago.

Marianne was, so often at least to me, the heart & soul of the Lex Community.  She was incredibly well-educated at a time when women didn’t go to college; she held several high-powered jobs in publishing.  Her first fiance was killed in WWII and I don’t believe she ever shared more than that about him.  She never had children yet – she was a mother-figure to so many of us.

I had been exchanging emails with her in the months since we lost our Beloved Lex and the last note I had from her indicated she was having some health troubles.  She never specified what – which was like her of course.  And in that last e-mail she did, as always, talk about politics and her concerns for our country.

A patriot to the last.

Her husband – Downs – is 87 and now in a nursing home.

By all means, go to the link for Maggie’s Farm. They have an audio recording of a folk song that Marianne performed back in the 1950s – the title of which is the title of this post; I didn’t know this but she was quite a prominent folk singer in the 1940s/1950s.  I was listening to it as I typed this and her voice – so pure and sweet – told me she is with her Lord … and with Lex.

Raise your glasses to this great lady – for strength, for courage, for love.  I will raise a glass of Woodfords Reserve bourbon – which I know she would have done for Lex.

Godspeed Marianne.  You were a wondrous spirit to have known.

21 Comments

Filed under Faith, Guinness - For Strength!, In Memoriam, Uncategorized

21 responses to “The Last Rose of Summer

  1. Bill Brandt

    In the short time I have been here I know she was a kind soul

  2. This breaks my heart. Marianne was the queen of the Lex Babes. Still is. Dang. I loved that woman.

  3. So sorry to hear that Marianne has passed. I was wondering where she has been lately.
    Her comments and observations were always right on point and a pleasure to read.
    I’m sure Lex was there to welcome her as she stepped into the clearing .

  4. Dang, she was always a well versed commentor at Lex’s joint. I’m saddened to hear the news of her passing.

    Te desidero

  5. The idea of she and Lex sharing a Guinness and a hug in Heaven makes me smile through my tears. If you happen to find out where Downs is living, would you mind letting me know? I’d love to send him a note.

    • HF6 – if you go to the link at Maggie’s Farm, there is discussion in the comments about where he is. It is in Houston somewhere, “Brae…” something. Folks there are working out where it would be.

  6. Zane

    Sad news.

    Marianne hailed from upstate New York. Her first love (they were engaged) died on the battlefield in northern Italy in 1943. She was 17, he was given the Silver Star (posthumous) for his actions that day. She told me how hard that drove home the reality that all is fleeting, that it can all pass away in a day.

    Fortunately, with Lex passing our information, I was able to go to the cemetery outside of Florence where this young man was buried, to lay flowers on Marianne’s behalf there because in all her life she had never been able to make that journey. I took photographs of the bright white marble cross, and of the panoramic view across the valley from that grave. She was very, very grateful that he was remembered.

    I am glad I was able to ease her heart some. Through her whole life, in some way, that young man was with her and lived on through her. May they all, Marianne, her young man and Downs, find peace.

    • I wish I had know that of her. I was in that cemetery in Florence last year. I too would have looked up that hero. Of course I am assuming it was the ABMC cemetery. It has to be one of the most beautiful and serene places I’ve ever been.

      I don’t have any Guinness in the house but I do have some Jameson’s so maybe I’ll crack that open and drink to her.

    • Zane

      I think this is out of order, but there’s no reply tag to Daryle’s post. Yes, that’s the cemetery. Robbie (so she still called him) was one handsome young man by the photo she sent me. He’s well up the hill on the right hand side, in lots of bright sunshine.

    • Zane

      I forgot to add, Robbie, like so many upstate NY boys, was one of the first of the 10th Mountain.

  7. Jim Shawley

    We all will cross the brow, step into the clearing. We all know this; yet it does not make it any easier to learn when one of ours has done so.

    “Ding, ding…….Ding, ding…..
    Marianne, departing.”

    Grace and peace to those who mourn her.

  8. Buck

    Such sad news. I read the thread at Maggie’s Farm and the commentariat there was spot on for the most part. I looked upon this gentlewoman… in EVERY sense of the word… as one of the best spoken, most erudite, and KIND ladies I ever had the pleasure of meeting on these inter-tubes.

    Godspeed, Marianne.

  9. Kent

    Another sad day for Lexicans! Her posts were a delight to read and will be sorely missed by myself and all Lexicans. Not as big a loss as with Lex, but a close second.

  10. Sad news, indeed. Farewell, dear lady. May all who greet you on Heaven’s streets know of the good life you lived. We shall miss you. Godspeed!

  11. NaCly Dog

    I am so sorry to see her go West. She was a classy lady. I sure enjoyed her posts on Lex. I treasure her direct responses to me. Perhaps she can be an honorary member of Fiddler’s Green.

    Posted on the Facebook page also.

  12. Grandpa Bluewater

    Sad news indeed. She is and will continue to be missed.

  13. Old AF Sarge

    I am saddened to hear of the loss of one of our own. She will be missed, she will not be forgotten. May we all be together again on the other side.

  14. virgil xenophon

    Oh My God! I’ve been thinking of her the last few days and been meaning to call her! Marianne and I used to converse often by phone and less so by occasional e-mail. Thankfully I have the CD of her performances she sent some of us. I am sickened at the thought and feel I neglected her by not calling since Lex’s death, but have been involved with personal snakes to kill and had become distracted save for occasional posts. What a Grand Lady and wonderful soul! I can still hear her voice in my head from our conversations. I really do feel I let her down. The days may drag, but the weeks and months fly by–there’s a lesson in this for us all..

    Farewell Lovely Grande Dame! I’ll remember you always..

    She was a “great gal” –a “game dame” –“a helluva broad”–take your pick–all in the best sense of those words as Sinatra would have described her! She really did live life to the fullest. And I’m ashamed I feel I let her down–I’ll always regreat this..

    • Hey Virgil. I’ve been trying to contact you. I tried calling while I was in the hospital for my back surgery but your Tracfone was off and I’m guessing you have a different email as I haven’t heard back.

      mrgcoengr at hotmail dot com

  15. virgil xenophon

    PS: And what Buck said as well!

  16. I am much saddened by her departure. We know that gravity will get us all someday, but that does little to see those we know and love pass from the scene. Fair winds and following seas Marianne.

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