Thursday, September 30, 2010
By James Lomuscio
Family and friends today described longtime Westporter Maura F. Marden who died at 53 Monday after a four-year battle with cancer as a heroic, inspirational and loving mom.
Maura Marden posed with her Team Pride II teammates at the Swim Across the Sound fund-raiser for St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Bridgeport last month. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Whether running for selectman, swimming across the Long Island Sound, fund-raising for Al’s Angels or cheering on her three boys at swim meets, she always evoked courage and optimism in spite of her health problems, they said.
“She was a fantastic candidate and a fantastic human being,” said John Izzo, the Republican candidate for first selectman who chose Marden as his running mate in 2001. “She was compassionate, thoughtful and a great friend, and she was a courageous woman.
“It took a brave candidate to go up against the highly popular (incumbent Democratic First Selectman) Diane Farrell,” he added about the election that Farrell won.
Pete Wolgast, who was chairman of the Republican Town Committee at the time, recalled Marden as “a very attractive candidate to support John Izzo” because of her outgoing personality and the fact that she was well known in town due to her work coaching swimming at the Westport Weston Family Y.
“She had a lot of energy and a lot of friends and was definitely an asset to John Izzo,” said Wolgast.
He noted that Marden had not been active in the Republican Party until Izzo chose her, “and it was somewhat of a surprise.”
Close friend Christine DiGuido said she met Marden when their children took part in the Y’s Water Wrats team, “and she was always helping out, doing the driving and being there when anybody needed her.”
“She was sick for a while, and she never complained,” DiGuido said.
“She was my hero. I would be complaining about aches and saying I didn’t want to exercise, and there she would be at the Edge gym in Norwalk on the elliptical doing her workout right after she came back from her treatment at Yale-New Haven.”
DiGuido, whose family runs Al’s Angels, a charity for area families challenged by cancer, rare blood diseases, AIDS and domestic violence, said Marden always found the time to pitch in, whether “stuffing envelopes or out there fund-raising.”
“She even did the Swim Across the Sound this summer,” she said. “That’s what I mean by inspirational. Even though she had so many of her own problems, she was always there to help us.”
Marden and her three sons from her first marriage, David Platow, 23, Daniel Platow 21, and Christopher Platow, 19, were among 280 swimmers who took part Saturday, Aug. 7 in the 23rd annual SWIM Across the Sound cancer research fundraiser sponsored by St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.
Accompanied by 110 boats, participants swam 15.5 miles from Danford’s Marina in Port Jefferson, N.Y. to captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport.
“Me and my mom and two brothers did the swim,” said David Platow, a 23 year-old marketing professional who lives in San Diego. “She got in the water three times, right in the middle of the Sound for 15 minutes each.”
David said that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, “got it under control and beat it, and she was fine.”
“But a routine checkup two-and-a-half years ago showed that she had developed leukemia as a result of the radiation, and so she needed a bone marrow transplant,” said David.
“She got that a year-and-a-half ago, but she didn’t have much of an immune system as a result.
“Two weeks ago she developed a severe case of pneumonia, and that’s why she passed away,” he added.
David noted that he and his brothers were lifelong Westporters raised by their mother and stepfather William Barden. He recalled his mother was very active at the Y where she taught swimming.
He also said she was very involved in the Mothers Guild at Fairfield Preparatory School where he and his brothers attended.
“But her real passion and hobby was coming out and seeing us at swim meets, always cheering for us, whether it was a meet that really didn’t mean too much in the middle of the winter of whether it was the biggest meet of the season,” he said. “Her enthusiasm and excitement never wavered.
“She truly lived life to the fullest and accomplished so much and touched so many people in only 53 years,” added David. “I’m going to miss her so much, but I know that my brothers and I have a guardian angel every step of the way.”
In addition to husband and children, Maura is survived by her mother (Muddy), five siblings, and 12 nieces and nephews.
A wake will be held on Friday, Oct. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield, followed on Saturday by a Funeral Mass at St Luke Church in Westport at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her memory to the Fairfield Prep Swim Team.
Posted 09/30/10 at 12:12 AM Permalink
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Maura was a very special human being - a warm and wonderful presence - who radiated and spread joy even when she was ill. I’ll always remember her poolside, where her kindness and enthusiasm transformed an ordinary swim into play and an occasion for laughter. Westport is a little bit dimmer this week with her gone. She made her mark, and will long be remembered.