Groves resident Marilyn P. is a real-life Wonder Woman. She was born in 1936 in Whiting, Indiana, an industrial town on the shore of Lake Michigan that shares the Illinois/Indiana state border with the city of Chicago. She came from a hardworking, Catholic and Slovak family. Sadly, Marilyn’s father passed away just as she was about to graduate high school. She found herself at a crossroads between a college education and a secretarial job in Chicago.
Ultimately, she chose the job, though her colleagues encouraged her to seek a college degree. She began by enrolling in night courses at St. Joe’s Extension in East Chicago, with transportation to and from class kindly provided by a local priest. She went on to attend Marquette University, where she graduated in 1958 with a degree in Journalism. This landed her a job in PR at Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital in the city. Her roommate, a nurse at the hospital, introduced her to her future husband, Mr. Lewis P.
In 1959, Marilyn and Lewis moved to Ontario-Upland, California where Lewis had a new job at IBM in computer programming. A few short years later, he was transferred to IBM’s offices in Maryland and they settled in Silver Spring. Marilyn became a stay-at-home Mom to five wonderful children and was very active with the PTA. Though Marilyn and Lewis divorced in 1968, she remained in the Silver Spring home and became even more active in Montgomery County politics and civic associations. Marilyn was part of a team that helped get the Long Branch public library built. She also worked alongside US Senator Chris Van Hollen.
As Marilyn’s 5 children grew older, she solidified her career in public relations. Marilyn was one of the first women accepted as a member of the National Press Club, inducted in the same class as former President Jimmy Carter. She once shared a moment with the Queen of the Netherlands, who confided in Marilyn that she was nervous to give remarks at a reception hosted by the Vice President at his home. The queen then gifted Marilyn a crystal dish that she keeps safely tucked away to this day.
At the age of 75, Marilyn retired but that did not stop her involvement in solving local civic challenges! Marilyn takes great pride in her 5 children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild, especially when they visit campus. If you’re lucky, you might catch her on the porch playing the Accordion while her son and grandson accompany her.
We are so grateful to be a part of Marilyn’s life here at Kensington Park.