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George Marth Eulogy from Dec 29
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Post George Marth Eulogy from Dec 29 Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:33 am
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by Tim Fiala
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George Marth – Memorial Eulogy – December 29, 2011

To everyone who knew him, his name was simply George. My name is Tim Fiala and I am the husband of George Marth’s only child Heather and she’s asked me to say a few words about her dad.

I met Heather Marth in an Irish bar on March 17, St Patty’s Day 1983, and we married a year to the day in 1984.

Less than a month after we met, we had a date at a wedding at Platt Deutsche Park where I met her Dad and Mom for the first time and Heather warned me that I was about to meet the Archie Bunker of Archer Place.

But he wasn’t Archie Bunker. When he saw the look in his daughter’s eyes in introducing me he was immediately welcoming and accepting of me as a member of his family and we had an immediate bond and friendship that lasted to this day.

Heather and I had only a precious few years spending weekends in Baldwin with his beloved wife Peggy McIntosh before she passed before the birth of our first born Emily in 1988. They were glorious years filled with Jones Beach, barbecues and family.

When Heather told me her father was the head of lifeguards at Jones Beach, little did I know that meant there was 2 degrees of separation from anyone who had ever set foot on Long Island from the legendary George Marth in the last 50 years. In our travels around the world, whenever Heather mentioned George’s name, there were people everywhere that knew and respected her Dad.
When George’s granddaughter Maggie was asked in 5th grade to write about the one person who influenced her the most, she wrote this about George:

“The person who has had an impact on my life is my Grandpa, who I like to call George. He makes an impact on my life because of what he has done in his life. He was a lifeguard at Jones Beach for 40 years. Now my family spends almost every day at the beach. My Mom was a lifeguard also and my brother and I are both Junior Lifeguards. He is always laughing and has lots of friends and a good sense of humor. In addition he used to be a gym teacher and is still in great shape. He has worked out all of his life and exercises every day which makes me want to be the same way. My grandfather has been a great influence on me and I am grateful he has been there for me.”

My single favorite moment of how George Marth’s honor was acknowledged was a roast that we held for him in Pound Ridge NY upon his retirement in 1987.

We had a party to end all parties that honored this man with fond memories and “George-isms” that everyone could relate to:
“The chickens have come home to roost!”
“Man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds”
“Detroit, Detroit!”
“Don’t worry about a molecule”
“Anytime you guys want to go out to dinner…”

Tracey Parks, Reggie Jones, Frank Lyons, Uncle Tosh, Jay O’Neill and many more gave testament to the impact George had on their lives.

And he didn’t have it easy. He arrived at his station in life from a hard luck start in Brooklyn’s Bed–Stuy in 1929 at the start of the depression. He grew up on President Street and had a great story about cracking a milk bottle over the head of a neighborhood thug to protect his little brother Harry’s bike.

His saving grace was the fact that his aunts and uncles – the Godfreys who gave him his middle name - had a beach house they invited him to stay at during the summer months in Point Lookout.

It was there that he discovered the wonders of the fabulous new Jones Beach State Park and applied and started as a lifeguard at age 17 on July 4th 1946.

He graduated from Long Beach High School and earned a scholarship and was the center of the football team at Wayne State University in Detroit. His scholarship had him stoking the coal furnace in the athletic center every morning at 5 AM.

But he never lost his love and passion for being one of the Boys of Summer up on the lifeguard stand at Jones Beach.

And it was from the lifeguard stand that he spotted the gorgeous model, Peggy McIntosh who graced the pages of Vogue and Life Magazine whom he took for his wife.

After accepting a job as a math teacher and then a phys-ed teacher at Baldwin Junior High, he went on with his second career as Lieutenant, Captain and finally the head director of the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps.

He made countless friendships at Baldwin Junior High and until this past summer had a regular weekly breakfast meeting with the teachers of the ROMEO club – that’s retired old men eating out – at the Baldwin Coach Diner.

And of course, he was a God-fearing man who blessed the congregation of St. Christopher’s next door for the past 60 years.

So how do you take the measure of a man like George?

It’s the inspiration he provided to thousands of students and teachers in Baldwin and the thousands more lifeguards he tutored at Jones Beach.
To his loving wife Peggy.
To his daughter Heather.
His grandkids Emily, Tom and Maggie
You’ve been a life saver to us all.
Rest in peace my friend, George.
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Post Re: George Marth Eulogy from Dec 29 Posted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:42 pm
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I couldn't agree more with Pat Linehan's statement that George Marth was a Man's Man.Here's a little story most of you can probably relate to..During one of my disciplinary trips to the lifeguard office(I think I had more time there than on the beach) I vividly remember George being quite upset with me and using some choice words as to how he felt about my bending of the rules."Rodgers he said,two day's without pay now get out of my office".Needless to say he made sure I got the first two day's of overtime available to me at my beach to make up for the loss of pay.
That night at Mulcahy's in Wantagh he spotted me at the bar and yelled to the bartender "get Ronnie a beer with me.".That was George.If you had a nose for the water that was what was important..To me and I'm sure everyone would agree George was the best man to ever run the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps.R.I.P. George.
(Ron Rodgers, nomowork626@yahoo.com)
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