Marion Bess Garmel (nee Simon)
Marion Garmel died peacefully in her home in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Saturday, October 22, 2022.
She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and began her career as a journalist and editor, writing and co-editing her high school newspaper, The Tatler. She graduated with honors with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas in 1958. She moved to Philadelphia and began work as a public relations liaison for the National Student Association from 1958 to 1961. At age 25, she moved briefly to Paris before returning to work at The Wall Street Journal, where her editors quickly recognized her for her concise, effective writing. That same year, she was hired by the newly founded Dow-Jones paper, The National Observer, making her the first female staff writer there and one of only a handful of presswomen at Dow-Jones Publishing at the time.
At the National Observer, she wrote for the culture section, covering television, pop music, off-Broadway theater, books, and personality profiles throughout the 1960s. In 1971 she took a job as the art critic for the Indianapolis News. She became editor of the Freetime Guide to Arts and Leisure Section from 1975 to 1998. When the Indianapolis News and Star merged, Marion held the position of theater critic from 1999 to 2001 when she retired. Among her many accomplishments as a groundbreaking journalist, she was awarded Best of Indianapolis (coverage of arts) in 1984, 1st place for outstanding contributions in reporting in 2001 by the Professional Journalists Society, Indiana Chapter, and in 2008 and 2010, she won the Kate Milner Award for Professional Excellence and also was named a Who's Who of American Women.
A tireless supporter of Indianapolis arts, Marion recognized and championed so many talented Hoosiers, including; artist K.P. Singh, potter/artists George and Ilana Debikey, playwright Rita Kohn, painters Martha Slaymaker and Ellie Siskind, and the Ronen Chamber Ensemble, naming just a few. She covered the Beatles landing in America and Johnny Cash landing in Folsom Prison. Marion raised the profile of many young women novelists, including Joanne Greenberg, Anne Tyler, and Rona Jaffe. She was also one of the first critics to feature groundbreaking sculptor Beverly Pepper and fine artist Dong Kingman. One of the highlights of her life was having the honor of meeting Eleanor Roosevelt in the former First Lady's New York City apartment.
Marion was a vigorous advocate of local theater, music, artists, and other journalists. She never wavered in her love for the Jewish faith and its people. An active volunteer for the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, President of the Indianapolis Chapter of Hadassah, and engaged contributor to weekly Torah studies at her Temple. She served on the Woman's Press Club of Indiana board and was a jurist of the National Federation of Press Women's program for incarcerated women writers. Marion also served on the board of directors for The District Theater and Indy Fringe. She was a founding member of the National Museum Of Women in the Arts, DivaFest, and OnyxFest in Indianapolis.
Among her countless interviews, some of her favorites include Joel Grey, James Turrel, Hal David, and Carol Channing. She loved tennis, the colors of the desert, tacos, and Cafe du Monde coffee and was famous for her brisket with Claude's sauce.
Marion was born on October 15, 1936. She is predeceased by her husband Raymond Lewis Garmel, of Brooklyn, NY. Marion is survived by her daughter Cindy Rogers of Rochester, NY, stepdaughter Christine (Samuel) Blum of Hendersonville, NC, granddaughter Emily Rogers of Queens, NY, step-grandchildren Josh (Cherie) Blum, of New York, NY, and Seth Ross of Hoonah, AK. Marion was "Bubbe" to Shalom "Lomie" Blum and step great- grandmother to Cooper and Easton Ross.
Marion is also survived by her sister Evelyn Ruth Fox, of Plano, TX, Samuel A. Simon, of McLean, VA, and Susie Pickens-Owens, of Falls Church, VA. She is predeceased by her sister Harriet Rae Simon, of El Paso, Texas. She was the daughter of Marcus and Frieda Simon, of El Paso, TX. Marion adored her family and treasured her friendships most of all. She took great pride in each one of her children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews and kept an updated file of all their accomplishments.
Marion will be remembered at a graveside service at Temple Mt. Sinai Cemetery, El Paso, Texas on Sunday, October 30 at 10:30 AM (MDT) 1:30 PM (EST)
A college scholarship fund for deserving young journalist at El Paso High School has been initiated in Marion's name. Please inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Lieu of Flowers, Donations can be made to the following charities that were close to Marion's heart:
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, The District Theater, Indianapolis, Greater Indianapolis Hadassah.