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Marilyn Cook Sale (1923-2019) who, starting in 1943 spent every summer at her family home on Middle Beach Road before moving full time to Madison (and later Branford) in 1983, died peacefully on July 9 at Evergreen Woods. She had enjoyed watching the spectacular fireworks display over Tuxis Island on July 3 in the company of her four adult children and a grandson. Born on April 24, 1923 in Hackensack, New Jersey, to Mary Kenyon and William Thomas Cook, she was named after Marilyn Miller, a popular Broadway musical star.
The family, which included Marilyn’s older brother Kenyon, moved when Marilyn was one into a home on Glenwood Avenue in New Rochelle, New York, where she would be married nineteen years later. A great believer in the health benefits of bracing fresh air, Marilyn’s mother had her sleep on an unheated porch year around and, according to Marilyn’s recollection, made her walk “ten miles” to school each day. That distance hasn’t been verified. Asked what kind of student she was Marilyn said she loved athletics more than school work (although she became an avid reader) and was “most interested in boys and dates, my favorite angora sweater and polished saddle shoes, music, and dances.”
It was in high school that Marilyn, in dungarees and pigtails raking leaves as a sorority pledge, met her future husband, Arthur “Artie” Bruce Sale when members of his fraternity at a nearby high school happened by. They were married in the midst of World War II just after Marilyn graduated from Bradford Junior College. Artie was a Dartmouth graduate who joined the US Navy and, after earning his air corps wings, served as a naval lieutenant and fighter pilot in the war’s Pacific theater. When Artie died in 2011, he and Marilyn had been married for 68 years and raised four children. During the school year family vacations were spent skiing; during summers in Madison tennis was the sport of choice.
Marilyn was one of the original stockholder-members of The Madison Beach Club where she won an impressive number of tennis championships in women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. She was also a member (and former president) of The Garden Club of Madison as well as of The Manor Club, a cultural and travel organization in Pelham Manor, New York. Marilyn and Artie were energetic members of The Winter Club in Madison. A gifted stencil artist she worked painstakingly with gold foil paint on lacquered furniture. Her family and friends were even more enthusiastic about her delicious pies with crust that no one else has mastered.
Marilyn will be remembered by her family and many friends as a woman who was unselfconsciously beautiful and loved to create and participate in Fun. At the end of a group adventure abroad, she’d make up and read a comic poem or hand out homemade prizes. Each ski trip would involve a relevant motto or a special call shouted across the mountain at nonsensical intervals. There exists archival footage of an Evergreen Woods musical performance with Marilyn in a Rockette-style “kick” line; she’s the one in the fishnet stockings.
Marilyn leaves her children Suzanne Sale, Deborah Bailey, Bruce (and his wife Joanne) Sale, and Nina Lewis. In addition, she leaves her cherished grandchildren Christopher (and his wife Erin), Tim, Whitney, and John DiCarlo, Robin (and her husband Basil) Enan, Kate Lewis, and Eric Sale. She also leaves nine great-grandchildren.
Burial in West Cemetery, Madison, will be private with a service conducted by Rev. Nancy Leckerling. The Hawley Lincoln Funeral Home in Guilford is handling arrangements. A gathering to celebrate Marilyn’s life will be held at Evergreen Woods in the Reiss Room at 1:00 p.m. on July 19. All are welcome.
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