July 13, 1920 – March 19, 2017
Marx Willoughby, long-time local resident, passed away peacefully on March 19.
She grew up in her beloved Canton, Ohio, where she could trace back family ancestors for generations. After graduating, with honors, from William and Mary College, she married Jack Willoughby and they made their way to California, riding in the rumble seat of a Model T Ford.
Within a few years, Marx began her first and most favorite job, that of mother to daughters Robin and Jo. The family moved to La Cañada Flintridge in 1950. When her daughters began school, Marx had time to focus her keen mind and energy on community volunteer work. She was active in the PTA, Girl Scouts, Chi Omega Alumnae Association, the Thursday Club, the Republican Party and Community Chest, to name a few. She generously served in leadership positions and was regularly honored for her efforts. Marx had a wickedly funny sense of humor and a great sense of fun. She generously shared this personality trait in all aspects of her life.
Marx combined her creativity, flair for the dramatic and love of art and antiques to venture into the entertainment business. Marx was a gifted writer and wrote a book of children’s poems, numerous screenplays, narration for commercials and documentaries. Because Jack was a cinematographer, they were able to work as a productive team and collaborated on film projects such as the documentary, “American Masterpieces,” which explored the historical antiques in the State Department. Marx traveled throughout the U.S. on the lecture circuit, presenting more than 100 programs about antiques of America and China. She traveled widely, often alone, in order to photograph and gather information for her lectures. Marx also spent a year living in Lausanne, Switzerland with her daughters and spent nine months in Madrid, Spain, while Jack filmed “The Battle of the Bulge.”
When most people retire and begin to slow down in their mid-60s, Marx took a nine-year long paying job as a staff assistant to U.S. Congressman Carlos Morehead. She continued working for Republican elected officials until retiring at 77.
Marx is survived by her husband of 73 years, Jack; daughters Robin Williams and Jo Butcher (Chris); grandchildren Blake Williams, Gavin Williams (Lori), Brandon Butcher (Sarah) and Bryce Altounian (Nick); and great-grandchildren Keegan and Quinn Williams, and Jack Butcher.
Marx loved having her family nearby and was able to enjoy frequent visits, family gatherings and celebrations throughout her life. Her loud and encouraging whistle could always be heard at her grandchildren’s school plays, sporting competitions, art shows, etc.
Although her family is grateful that she was part of their lives for such a long time, she is greatly missed. A family gravesite funeral was held at Forest Lawn and was followed by a reception on March 23.