Remembering Necia Marko

Without question, an era came to an end at Timber Lake with the passing of long-time Director of Fine Arts, Necia Marko, who died on Thursday, the 29th of December.  Although unable to return to camp last summer, Necia spent 43 summers at Timber Lake, missing only one other due to the birth of her fourth son, Ari.  All four of her sons grew up at camp and two of her grandchildren as well.  She came to Timber Lake in 1967 as the sister of its Director and co-founder, Sy Lebenger.  It wasn’t long before she became a presence in her own right.

Necia was Timber Lake’s Grand Diva.  She was not only proficient in the fine arts – of which she could do them all – but she was a work of fine art herself.  Expressive, bold, flamboyant, dynamic, creative and entertaining, she was not easy to miss, but will be much missed by all who came to know her.

Until recently every Marathon team banner was painted by Necia Marko.  She was the Leather Shop instructor before she became the painting teacher.  She knew everything there was to know about each of the arts and, before long, she directed the entire Fine Arts Program.  And Necia could act.  Whether it was her antics to get everyone’s attention in her studio or in a cameo appearance on the Timber Lake Stage, Necia Marko was a star.

She came from great stock.  Her brother, Sy, who passed away during the summer of 2010 (Necia’s last at camp), was larger than life.  So was she.  When she entered a room, the entrance was grand.  When she sat in room, she enjoyed center stage.  She held court.  Necia was extremely bright, insightful and endearing.  She loved the classics and she appreciated the art in everything – even life itself.  In her final summers at camp, she enjoyed sharing her collection of classic movies with any members of the staff who would join her.  It wasn’t enough to watch the movie with her, she would share her interpretation and the deeper meaning in each of those old classics.   The staff love it and they loved her – as did the campers who regaled her with songs and chants about “N-E-C-I-A, Necia!”

In the early years of camp when Necia Marko worked in the Arts & Crafts Building and her brother directed the camp, her mother, Rose, then in her seventies, would spend her days sitting on the front porch of the Staff House just beyond the Dining Hall (or “Mess Hall” as it was called back then).  Every passerby would get recognized and, for those who paused or stopped, they would benefit from “Grandma Rose’s” classic advice on any topic.  Rose had her chair and her spot and Necia would say “someday that will be me.”  And so it was.  As age made it more difficult for her to get around, like her mother before her, Necia found her spot and held court as friends would assemble and passersby would stop for advice or a story.

While it is sad but true that with Necia’s passing an era has come to an end at Timber Lake, it is truer yet that Necia’s many summers at the place she loved made the camp, its campers and staff the richer for the time we enjoyed with her.   In the words of an old Timber Lake Alma Mater: “Time is flying by….Last chance to say goodbye….”  We bid farewell to Necia Marko but will always remember the tremendous impact she had on so many of us at TLC.

Jay Jacobs

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