I first met Marion Kwartler, who was only 54 when she died Tuesday night of breast cancer, when we worked across from each other as staff writers at New York’s Jewish Week.
We all used typewriters in those days, and Marion and I fearfully made the transition to computers together.
A year or so later, when I became editor at the Standard, she joined the paper as well. She was an excellent reporter and an intrepid interviewer, and her well-written story on a lawsuit involving kashrut earned the first Rockower award – sort of like the Jewish Pulitzers – this newspaper ever received.
I remember the ceremony; all we had been told was that Marion had won a Rockower, but not which one. We did not expect much – we thought the bigger papers like Baltimore’s and Jewish Week would take the top prizes – so when honorable mention was called, Marion was ready to stand up. But no – her name was not called. And when second place was called, she was halfway out of her seat. But no again. We wondered if there had been some mistake. And then she was called, to take her first place award. It was a marvelous moment, and I still have the first page of the story in a frame in my office.
Unfortunately, her life was filled with illness and sorrow, but at least that moment was cheering.
We wish it had all been better for her.
We at the Standard extend our condolences to her family.