PAYING TRIBUTE: Friends, colleagues, and members of the public who admired Phyllis Marchand gave her funeral procession an ovation as it passed through Princeton on Tuesday morning.
By Anne Levin
On Tuesday morning, nearly 100 people stood on the corners of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets to pay tribute to Phyllis Marchand, who died of cancer on Thursday, March 25 at the age of 81. As Marchand’s funeral procession passed, the gathering of local officials, friends, and admirers — some holding “Thank You Phyllis” signs — broke into spontaneous applause.
It was a brief but emotional farewell to the former Princeton Township mayor, Township Committee member, marathon runner, mother, and grandmother, who remained active in many community causes despite her 15-year battle with lymphoma. Marchand served in local government for 22 years; 14 of them as mayor.
Marchand is survived by her husband of 57 years, Sy Marchand; her three children Michael, Deborah, and Sarah; and eight grandchildren. Phyllis Steinberg Marchand was a native of New York City and a graduate of Skidmore College. She worked in Manhattan’s publishing industry and moved with her husband to Princeton in 1966.
At the time of her death, she was chair of the D&R Greenway Board of Trustees and was active in several other area organizations including the Princeton YWCA, McCarter Theatre, HomeFront, Planned Parenthood, the Coalition for Peace Action, the D&R Canal Commission, Princeton-Pettoranello Sister City Foundation, the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the Mercer Council for Alcohol and Drug Addiction, Corner House, the Jewish Center of Princeton, Cancer Care, the Princeton Garden Theatre, and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
On a special website (posthope.org/thoughts-of-phyllis/posts), several people wrote messages of appreciation to Marchand before she died. Since March 25, numerous others have written to her family.
“I am one of hundreds of people who admired Phyllis for her bravery, tenacity, good spirits, commitment to service and so much more,” wrote Eleanor Horne, trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. “To say that she is an inspiration does not begin to capture her impact. I know no one else like her. I know that she is leaving a huge hole in the hearts of her family, friends, and this community. Her spirit will live on as we continue to work on the causes that mattered so much to her.”
Linda Mead, executive director of D&R Greenway, wrote, “A woman larger than life is hard to lose: Determined. Courageous. Committed to community and causes. Fun! Leader. Friend. And her favorite roles: wife, mother, grandmother. Hers is an impression that no one can forget.” more