Stuart Marcus, a husband, father and grandfather who enthusiastically volunteered for decades as a caring coach, mentor and compassionate first-responder, died on Friday morning. He was 74.
The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease.
A certified public accountant by profession, Stu spent much of his time outside of tax season on the soccer field and behind the wheel of a Marlboro First-Aid vehicle responding to emergencies at all hours. He once helped deliver a baby in a dark middle school parking lot underneath a street lamp. And he volunteered at Ground Zero in the days after the Sept.11 attacks.
Stu became an emergency medical technician at 50, and rose to be a line officer and the president of the squad. He probably invested more of himself over the last 24 years in being a dedicated EMT than a CPA.
“I want to help my neighbor,” Stu told a local reporter in 2004 for an article about the first-aid squad.
“What happened to your neighbor?” the reporter asked.
“All of the people of Marlboro are my neighbors,” Stu said.
Born in Brooklyn on Oct. 3, 1946, and raised in Queens, Stu said he really grew up in Marlboro, N.J., where he and his wife Dory moved in 1973. They had been set up on a blind date four years earlier and were married eight months after that. It was 50 years ago in May.
During that time, Stu and Dory made life-long friends, built his accounting practice, started new careers, volunteered in their community, supported each other and raised three sons.
Stu joked that he had done his sons Jeffrey, Steven and Matthew a disservice. “I’m sorry,” he would say. “I made parenting look easier than it really is.”
That was true — he did — even if his self-effacing boast was really meant as a joke. Stu had an undeniable tenderness wrapped in a dry wit and infectious sense of humor.
He was playful and sometimes a little absurdist: Stu would jokingly extol seemingly scientific theories that he made up for a lark. His Big Gap theory of time and space would have made Einstein laugh out loud. And the scientists at CERN, we’re certain, would get a kick out of his suggestions on how they might break the light-speed barrier. (Simply point the laser downhill.)
Though he may not have been much of a scientist, his head for numbers served him well at the craps table, where he’d keep track of his own elaborate bets — and those of all his fellow gamblers, often correcting the croupiers and pit bosses when they miscalculated a payout or were slow computing the odds. He enjoyed his trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas with family and friends.
Stu loved sports and though he didn’t grow up playing or really watching soccer, he fell in love with it through his sons and all the children of Marlboro he coached. Stu always believed soccer — all sports really — should be played with a sense of adventure and purpose, not fear of losing or making a mistake. “Try to go out and do something,” he would coach his players.
A surprising athlete himself, Stu wasn’t tall or blessed with great speed, but he was quick — and quicker still to tell you how hard he practiced. He was a wily basketball player who had an adhesive handle on the ball with his natural left and opposite right hands, and he could smoothly sink shots from anywhere on the court.
Stu was an unfailingly honest man who had a keen sense of justice. He took that seriously, and with his wife Dory, they set enduring examples for their children about how to be honorable, loyal, responsible and, above all, how to love and be loving. We will miss that love most of all.
Stu is survived by Dory, their three sons and their families: Jeffrey, his wife Peyton and their children, Miles and Esme; Steven, his wife Rebecca Chacko, and their daughter, Joanna; and Matthew, his wife Jenna, and their children, Luka and Mila.
They ask that if anyone were inclined to honor Stu and his generous spirit, please consider a donation to the SOWN Parkinson’s Care Partners Support Groups, a non-profit group that provides services for Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. Dory and Stu received great comfort from this service.
Also consider supporting So Others Might Eat, a community-based service organization where Steven works to help residents of Washington, D.C., who experience homelessness and poverty.
Or maybe you can volunteer for the first-aid squad in your town and help your neighbors, as Stu did. “Try to go out and do something.”