Readers’ Memories of Marcia Dresser

My heart has truly broken today to learn of the passing of Marcia! She was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, caring people I ever had the pleasure to know. She always thought of others, and was one of the most dedicated and determined advocates, a true professional and mentor for hundreds of children who are blind, and cared so much about making the world a better place for all blind people. She loved ACB and was so generous with her time and money ... if an affiliate needed someone to buy a raffle ticket, she was there. If you needed someone to work on a committee or task force, Marcia would be there. She cared about everyone, loved her church, was involved in Democratic Town Committee activities, and served as president of the Bay State Council of the Blind, as well as the American Association of Blind Teachers. I’m probably missing several organizations and offices she held, because she did so much! She was truly an angel while she was with us all and now she will be leading the angels, laughing, singing, and organizing them to do their good works. Everyone who had the pleasure of having Marcia touch their lives is sad today ... I am just glad she isn’t suffering and in pain any longer. She was a fighter to the end, and wasn’t ready to leave all of us behind, but we will never forget her wonderful spirit and loving soul.
 
Steve, our hearts are filled with condolences and wishes for you ... we are thinking of you, and of course, if there is anything we can do to assist you in any way, let me know! 
 
Marcia, rest in peace — we will always love you!
 
— Kim Charlson
 
Donna and I learned of Marcia’s passing this morning on Rick and Deb Lewis’ oldies show. While not unexpected, losing friends is always a shock.
 
I met Marcia in the late ‘80s when she was here in L.A. for a conference and ended up at a reunion held for former attendees of the Foundation for the Junior Blind (now the Junior Blind of America). While we didn’t communicate on a regular basis, we always managed to get together at ACB conventions.
 
We were fortunate to spend time with Marcia and Steve at a pair of activities which were two of her final wishes to attend: last year’s cruise to and from the Hawaiian Islands and this year’s ACB national conference and convention. At the time of our cruise, Marcia was feeling better, although she needed to rest frequently. Our final day in the Islands, Marcia, Donna and I spent a wonderful half-day on Kanapali Beach, enjoying the water, the weather, and drinks with little umbrellas in them.
 
We had dinner one night at the convention and Marcia told us that she had insisted on attending so that she could say goodbye to all her ACB friends. She did.
 
What do you say about a kind and gentle friend who believed so strongly in the need to advocate on behalf of blind and vision impaired adults and children? It is doubly difficult to lose someone who is a contemporary, age-wise, although it’s something we all need to reconcile ourselves to at some point.
 
Our sincere condolences to Steve and to all of Marcia’s scores of friends in ACB. Rest well, Marcia.
 
— Mitch and Donna Pomerantz
 
It is hard to know what to say about a friend who one has known since almost 30 years ago. When I first met her, I was struck by her good sense, cheerfulness and curiosity. In all the years since she has remained a good friend always willing to listen, a soul interested in everything and a person who cared deeply about people who are blind and how they are treated. She was interested in libraries, teaching techniques, braille and people. She served in leadership positions but was trying her best to juggle her illness and her responsibility.
 
I had a chance to hug Marcia at convention and told her how much I cared about her. Words are empty, though. I want to remember the person who always demanded her hug and who was always willing to spend quality time talking about things we both liked. We both liked folk music and spent a wonderful evening at a Janis Ian concert. We got to spend quality time with Janis and I got to spend a weekend with Steve and Marcia and their kitty.
 
Marcia will be missed, and I know that Steve will find it hard to adjust to not having her around. I first got to know both of them at a leadership meeting in Connecticut where we all spent lots of quality time deciding how best to grow an affiliate and about relationships.
 
I love you, Marcia. I want my hug!
 
— Paul Edwards
 
Marcia was a wonderful person, for all the reasons everyone has stated. But let’s not forget her cats! We had great conversations about cats, because we both were feline fans. I will miss those warm, wonderful cat stories she loved to tell.
 
— Carla Ruschival
 
I, too, am saddened to hear this news. When I first joined the BOP, Marcia went out of her way to make me feel welcome, and when I moved into my new role as chair, she was always there with helpful advice and support.  We had some wonderful conversations, and I will greatly miss her knowledge and support.
 
We reach out to you, Steve, in your time of loss and sadness. As a part of the ACB family, please accept this virtual hug from all of us.
 
— Denise Colley
 
I had the honor and privilege of serving with Marcia on the BOP for five years. I also had the privilege of sharing the same profession. We had lots of fun conversations about educating students with visual impairments. Steve, I don’t know when you’ll read these messages, but I was always so struck by the sweet abiding love that the two of you shared for each other.  It was beautiful to watch.  I loved Marcia very much.  I was so honored because when one of us would call the other, she would always say “hey my sister” and then we’d continue on with our conversations. 
 
So, Marcia, “my sister,” we promise to take care of Steve while he’s still here. If we could see you now, we know that you’re walking streets of gold and are no longer in pain. You were a blessing to us all.
 
— Judy Jackson
 
I didn’t have e-mail access last weekend and was extremely saddened upon my return to read of Marcia’s passing. I wasn’t at all surprised to read all the wonderful things written about her; she was truly a kind and caring person. She’d never met my husband or son, but always asked about Terry and Kevin as if she knew them well. Her love of cats has already been mentioned. We mourned the death of each other’s cats, and she loved my Seeing Eye dog Isabel and always wanted to hear stories about our pet dog Chaos.
 
She loved technology (but nothing without buttons)! She introduced me to the Haven, and was thrilled when, after a brief hiatus with the iPhone, I returned to our beloved Haven.
 
During the 2010 convention, at my first caucus, Marcia and I were seated next to each other. She took my hand and noticed it was cold and shaking. I told her I was nervous. She held my hand the entire time. I’m certain her strength and confidence helped me go on to be elected to ACB’s board.
 
When she called me just prior to the end of registration for the 2015 convention and told me she wanted to come to Dallas to say good-bye to everyone, knowing how ill she was, I couldn’t imagine how she’d manage. With the help of Steve and her dear friend Janice she was able to be in Dallas, attend a Rangers game, visit Southfork Ranch, and have quality time with her many friends. I feel so fortunate to have been one of those friends. Just sitting with Marcia for an hour was truly a gift!
 
The reason I was away from e-mail was my son was married on Saturday, unbeknownst to me just a few hours after Marcia passed away.  I believe he and his new wife will be blessed by their special wedding angel. I’m sure she was watching over them as they took their vows. I love you, Marcia; thank you for being such an amazing friend.
 
— Janet Dickelman
 
I am overwhelmed with grief upon receiving this news! Marcia and I have been friends for years.  We worked together in AABT and IVIE, and she, Steve and I were great DX-ing buddies. We also shared a love of science fiction. We shared each other’s trials and triumphs, advice and encouragement and so much more! She helped me to decide which notetaker to get and spent several hours showing me all the ins and outs of using the BrailleNote Apex at the 2011 ACB convention in Sparks, Nev. She was truly a great and very patient teacher! Now, every time I use my Apex, I will think of her and feel her near me. It was so hard to say “goodbye” to her this year at the convention, but I am so glad that she and I were able to spend some quality time together. Why is there so much cancer in this world? Why does it take so many of our family members and friends that we love so dearly? The only comfort that I can take now is that she is in heaven, where there is no more cancer and suffering. I truly believe that the best way that we can honor Marcia is to follow her example as a dedicated, generous and hard-working member of ACB and by being a good friend to all.
 
— Carla Hayes
 
Marcia Dresser was a special angel who will be sorely missed. Let me count the ways:
 
1. Marcia lived and breathed ACB. She was a life member whose passion for the mission of ACB always burned bright. She served on the BOP, many times on the credentials committee, and lent a willing hand behind the scenes to help things run smoothly during ACB conventions. Marcia gave generously to ACB, both personally and in terms of resources.
 
2. Affiliates: Marcia was a leader of a number of affiliates including Bay State Council, the Connecticut Council and the teachers’ special-interest affiliate. As president of BSCB, Marcia was instrumental in the formation of two BSCB affiliates, the student chapter and the North Shore chapter.
 
3. Students and Young People: Marcia was a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) for many years. There was always a special place in her heart for students, both her own and students generally. I recall many instances where Marcia took the time to get to know student members of ACB. She was an advocate for all and a mentor to many.
 
5. Last, but certainly not least, I will miss Marcia as a personal friend. We both grew up in Reading, Mass. and went to the same junior high and high school. I remember the first time I entered Parker Junior High School. When I was introduced to the principal, he told me about the positive impression left on him and others at Parker by Marcia. I remember hoping that I would be able to match Marcia’s effort.
 
Strangely enough, Marcia and I did not meet until we were both adults. Over the years, we became very good friends. Marcia and her husband Steve were especially kind to Donna and I during some very trying economic times. They offered both support and a listening ear. Marcia was one of the kindest souls I’ve had the pleasure to know. Marcia, I will think of you often, during ACB and BSCB events, upon the first pitch of a Red Sox game or upon enjoying a sinful chocolate dessert.
 
Marcia, today I am both sad and happy. Sad that you’re gone, but happy that you’re no longer in pain.
 
— Bob Hachey
 
Marcia Dresser was a friend of mine since the early 1970s. She was not blustery and assertive, but she was indomitable and a force of kindness and love to be reckoned with. We spent our time together speaking and sharing about things that mattered to all of us in humankind and she always listened to, and cared about, all the people with whom she would speak. 
 
I join with so many who will miss Marcia, and I know that God has brought one of his favorite people home. May she rest in his grace forever. I loved you, Marcia, very much as a friend and even as my mentor, and I am so glad that I got the chance to be with you and our friends two weeks ago. 
 
Rest in peace, my faithful friend. May you enjoy all the rewards of heaven that you so richly deserve and have earned with your love of life and all of us who knew you. The tears in this goodbye are more than matched by the joy of having had you as a friend for so many years.
 
— Charlie Crawford
 
This is such heartbreaking news, even with knowing she was so ill. Marcia was one of my first friends and mentors in the blindness community. She had such a heart for young people and inspired me to do my best in all I do. She was full of love and grace for others. Marcia will be dearly missed by all.
 
— Sara Conrad