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

10 comments

  • Wonderful words about a wonderful woman. Four sons of her own, but a mom to hundreds and hundreds. Though I had trouble drawing even a stick figure, Necia made me feel like Picasso! My memories of her will always serve as a blessing.

  • Thanks for the beautiful words to describe one of our favorite people in camp. She helped to inspire both of our daughters to be expressive in both words and on canvas. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. xoxo

  • One of my favorite paintings that my daughter made her Freshman summer at TLC was done under the guidance of Necia! She will be remembered.

  • I remember the days when Neica was the only person running Arts and Crafts, back in the 60’s before they added all the other “majors”. I used to come home with the most wonderful projects and she always made us feel so special. She had so much patience and loved everyone! I worked at a camp later on, as the Arts & Crafts Director and would tell everyone I kept in touch with from TLC, I was the Necia of the camp! She was very loved and will be very missed!

  • What sad news. I worked at camp from 2001-2003 and was fortunate to have met and spoke with Necia quite a few times. She was a wonderful spirit in camp. It was always a joy when she would enter a room, and of course, I will never forget the N-E-C-I-A Necia! OOH AH! She will be missed, but her memory will stay on in the lives of all of us blessed by the memories of TLC.

  • To know her was to love her. She had a spirit that was bigger than life. The summer of 2010 was my first summer working at TLC and it wouldn’t have been as wonderful as it was if I had not had her around. She was TLC for me that summer. I spent all my free time sitting with her, and even time that wasn’t free, listing to her tell jokes and wonderful stories about her life. She was fascinating! Necia is the only person I would sit outside in the cold with and fight bugs for just to watch a movie. The movies came alive when you watched them with her. She told you stories about the actors and interesting facts about the movies. Necia became like a grandmother to me. She always gave the best advice and could make me fall over with laughter. I love her; not just as a friend, but as family. She left camp early in summer 2010 and I was there to pack her bags for her and soak up as much of her as I could before she left. It hurt not to have her with me for summer 2011, but calling her and hearing her voice made things better. When I told Necia that the campers had asked about her she said “Oh Crystal, no body is thinking of this old lady”. I told her what the campers had been saying about her and how they sat and reminisced over her. She said “Crystal, that didn’t make my day, that made my life”. I cried and so did she. She just wanted to be appreciated and to know that she was loved and missed by the campers. That meant the world to her.After that conversation Nyla Brittle and I got the idea to have the campers make her cards and write her letters to show how much they loved her. It was amazing to see how much work and love the campers put into the cards and letters. I only wish I could have been there to see her face when she got them. I miss you more than you’ll ever know Necia.

  • painting in the art shack with necia was something i did during so many of my elective periods over my five summers at TLC. i remember working on some flowers, and she taught me all these different techniques. that painting is still at my parents’ house, hanging proudly (even though i made it 20 years ago). i remember her very fondly and i’m sad to hear of her passing.

    ~jocelyn (’91-’95)

  • My first year at TLC was as the rocketry and model making specialist. Necia was great to work with and wonderful with the kids, she has touched many lives in a positive way.

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