Obituary for Marjorie Haddad
Dr. Marjorie Arlene Haddad died on August 14, 2019 in Northfield, MN at 87 years old. Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Marjorie graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, majoring in English and Sociology. She attended Union Theological Seminary from 1955-57, receiving a master’s degree in Religious Education as women were not yet allowed to be ordained. She served four years as a missionary with the American Lutheran Church in Moshi, Tanzania at the Marangu Teachers College, where she made many lifelong friends. Upon her return to the U.S., she received her Masters of Library Science from Pratt Institute […]
Dr. Marjorie Arlene Haddad died on August 14, 2019 in Northfield, MN at 87 years old.
Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Marjorie graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, majoring in English and Sociology. She attended Union Theological Seminary from 1955-57, receiving a master’s degree in Religious Education as women were not yet allowed to be ordained. She served four years as a missionary with the American Lutheran Church in Moshi, Tanzania at the Marangu Teachers College, where she made many lifelong friends. Upon her return to the U.S., she received her Masters of Library Science from Pratt Institute in 1967 and her Ph.D. in Education from New York University in 1976. Her dissertation, titled Pollution and Purification in the Novels and Plays of Soyinka, Achebe, and Clark, reflected her love of African literature.
Marjorie worked as a librarian at the United Nation’s Dag Hammarskjold Library from 1974 until her compulsory retirement in 1992 at age 60. In her many roles at the UN, which included Indexer, Editor, and Thesaurus Manager, she upheld the highest standards of excellence and was honored to work among people from all over the world. Still eager to be engaged intellectually, she worked as an editor at the Public Affairs Information Service publishing firm in New York City from 1992 until her final retirement in 2002. Her friends and colleagues appreciated and respected her intelligence, clarity, and kindness.
In 2005, she left New York to be closer to family, first residing in Saint Anthony near her sister and later joining the Northfield Retirement Community (NRC) in Northfield to enjoy time with her daughter and young grandchildren. Marjorie was a true lover of words: an avid reader, crossword puzzle enthusiast, editor of friends’ scholarly materials, and private poet. In her final years, Marjorie read hundreds of books alone and aloud to her grandchildren and friends at NRC. At the time of her passing, Marjorie’s bedside table was crowded with library books, including those by Michelle Obama, Willa Cather, and Maya Angelou. Her passion for the written and spoken word remains an inspiration to those who loved her.
Marjorie was a faithful member of several congregations during her lifetime, the last of which was the Northfield Retirement Community Chapel. Her church communities provided friendships as well as opportunities to engage in the deep theological discussions she so loved.
A faithful servant of God, she strove to be compassionate, generous, and open to service until her death. Asked once by a family member why she was so generous with her money and time, she responded, “I give until it hurts and it has never hurt so I continue to give.” She was deeply loyal to her friends and family, and kind gestures by others would bring “happy tears” to her eyes. As a lifetime supporter of human rights, she worked diligently and eagerly to promote the causes dear to her, especially the plight of the Palestinian people and social inequality in the U.S. and abroad. She was impressed by the compassion of our best leaders and was shaped by her early years under President Franklin Roosevelt.
She was a witness to history and loved to regale listeners with tales from her life. From her time as a young American woman living in the post-colonial country of Tanzania to her unwitting discovery of a spy ring, her life was full of adventure. Her work afforded her many opportunities to watch great statesman advocate for human rights, and sad occasions when despots fought for recognition, on the floor of the United Nations’ General Assembly. Marjorie’s wonderful sense of humor, quick wit, and infectious sparkle contributed to her ability to tell a great story. Marjorie loved people and she loved life.
She is survived by her beloved daughter Anne Haddad and daughter-in-law Kelly Connole and grandchildren Jasper and Violet Connole; sister Patricia Haselhorst (Wayne), nephew Todd Haselhorst (Alisa), niece Lisa Donohoo (Mike) and children; brother Darryl Podoll (Christine). She was preceded in death by her parents, Virginia and Bernhard Podoll, and her husband the Reverend Dr. George I. Haddad. Her family deeply appreciates the gentle care given to Marjorie by her caregivers at NRC’s Southview Suites and by friend Charlene Hamblin in the last years of her life. Blessed with dear friends throughout her life, Marjorie was delighted to find new friends in Northfield.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at Northfield Retirement Community Chapel on September 15, 2019. Visitation at 1pm, memorial service at 2pm, and reception at 3pm in the Fellowship Hall. Memorials may be made to Lutheran World Relief or Habitat for Humanity.