Karen Wessel Marcus photo

Karen Wessel Marcus

Karen Wessel Marcus, longtime Scarsdale resident and beloved member of the Quaker Ridge School community, died May 4 due to complications from COVID-19.

Born in Bronxville on April 2, 1953, she attended Edgewood School and Scarsdale High School, class of 1971. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1975 with a B.A. in English, and earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Hollins College (now University) in 1976. 

Applying her great aptitude for the written word, she became senior editor at Field & Stream magazine in New York during the early 1980s. She then crossed the pond in 1987 and spent the next 17 years in London life, making many friends along the way. She frequented museums and galleries; attended countless plays, musicals and concerts; sampled the world’s cuisines; painted, drew and wrote; and took all opportunities to jet-set across the globe, proudly raising her son Austin with a profound sense of adventure, her family said.

In a timely response to Samuel Johnson, Ms. Marcus wrote: “When a man tires of London, he tires of life. When a woman tires of London, she moves to New York!” She returned to Scarsdale in 2004 with her son, and relished the offerings of her native city once more, taking in productions on (or off, or way off) Broadway as often as possible. Not long after returning home, she joined the staff at Quaker Ridge School where, according to her family, she worked for the last 14 years sharing her curiosity, kindness, respect for nature, and confidence in pursuit of passion to each student and teacher she met. 

Her curiosity and zest for life knew no bounds, said her family. “She loved long hikes in nature and unorthodox excursions in her travels, held animated philosophical conversations with many friends, wrote letters in beautiful calligraphy, read voraciously, embraced every experience fully, and ensured no one she met felt unappreciated, misunderstood, or forgotten,” they said, noting that she cared deeply for all creatures, no matter how small. More than anything, “she cherished time spent with her beloved family, and especially her son, with whom she shared a unique bond, and whose raising was among her proudest achievements.”

Her family said she will always be remembered as a loving mother, daughter, sister and aunt; a devoted friend with an unflagging and witty sense of humor, intrepid adventurer, protector of wildlife, patient mentor, and a “true inspiration in how to drink deep from the fountain of life.”

Ms. Marcus is predeceased by her father, F. David Wessel (Barbara Sassaman), of Burlington, Vermont. She is survived by her mother, Patricia Wessel, of Scarsdale; brothers Peter Wessel of Whittier, California, and Mark Wessel (Eleanne Roosenburg) of Acton, Massachusetts; son, Austin Marcus (Holland Millure) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and nieces Esme and Phoebe Wessel.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Ms. Marcus’ honor be made to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Humane Society of Westchester, or Donors Choose www.donorschoose.org.

A memorial service will be live streamed at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16. To view, use the link provided at StJamesScarsdale.org.

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