It was with great sadness that I heard of the sudden passing of Easton playwright, author and Freddies judge, Bill Marley. Aside from always enjoying encountering him at parties, or Freddies performances, I appreciated Bill for being one of those Eastonians who did not shrink–even in his eighties–from showing up at a public meeting when it mattered, whether it be to take on the school board or city council as he felt necessary, or to support another’s efforts for the good of his community. Bill Marley loved Easton enough to fight for Easton.
But Bill was more of a lover than a fighter, a graceful and gallant man, even with a cane. He loved musical theatre and collecting art almost as much as he loved his long-time companion, Angel, a visual artist in Easton. He was the most devoted attendee of Easton’s high school musical theater scene that I know of, and looked forward to the Freddy Awards competition every year, eventually becoming a competition judge. He was a lover of theatre in general, and of Sondheim musicals in particular.
Although Bill was 87 years old, his death did come as a surprise to his loved ones. He was scheduled for a rather routine operation at Easton Hospital, and not particularly worried about it, so it came as quiet a shock to those closest to him, when he died of internal bleeding in the hospital on Tuesday. “The loss of Bill is such a shock to all of us who knew and loved him,” said long-time friend, Phyllis Johnson. “He was so wonderful–it’s a great, great loss.”
The Express-Times obituary says of Marley:
“William R. Marley, 87, of Easton, died Tuesday, February, 12, 2013 in Easton Hospital. Born: January 28, 1926 in Jackson, MS, he was a son of the late William and Geral Marley. Personal: A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Louisiana State University, he was an author, playwright and artist. Several of his plays were produced and performed both locally and in regional theatre throughout the country, winning several awards. He had also been a Color Design Director and served in the Navy during World War II. Memberships: He was awarded lifetime membership to the Color Marketing Group and was very active in the local arts community serving as an evaluator for the Freddy Awards. Survivors: His friend and companion, Angel Suarez-Rosado; a sister, Adele Mize of Jackson, MS; nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by a sister, Marie. Services: A calling period will be held from 1 to 3:00 p.m., Monday, in the Ashton Funeral Home, 14th and Northampton Sts., Easton. Offer online condolences at www.AshtonFuneralHome.com.”
Readers are also welcome to post condolences on this blog. There will also be a memorial service at Ashton Funeral Home following the calling period at 3pm. Both the calling period and the memorial service are open to the public.
Here is my interview with Bill in May of last year, in anticipation of a local production of his trilogy of one-act plays, Miss’ssippi Medley at St. John’s in Easton. Bill was also an author, leaving behind his novel, 21 Yerger Street.
Easton’s creative community will surely miss Bill, and he will be greatly missed by the people who were lucky enough to be counted among the friends of such a warm and vibrant man.