Monday, March 28, 2016

The Return of Marj Heyduck’s Memory

Jeff Fluty with the Goodwill and Easter Seals Reading Program and Radio Reading Service recently visited the Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society to see the Marj Heyduck display. Jeff is a volunteer reader for Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, WORDS Radio Reading Service and records a weekly program called Miami Valley History. Jeff has been reading for GESMV, WRRS since January, 2007 and hosting Miami Valley History since September, 2012.

The display case, donated by the Arcanum Public Library, contains memorabilia of Marj including her two books Best of Marj; Anniversary Marj along with glasses, a newspaper clipping of one of Marj’s articles in the Journal Herald paper dated October 12, 1956 on Third and Main column, an article from the Greenville Advocate about her life, and several certificates and photos. And of course one of her hats! Story is she was photographed with all of her many different hats by the papers. According to Marilyn Walden of Arcanum Public Library, Marj told her listeners of the needs of the Arcanum Library which was destroyed by fire many years ago. Marj donated some of her personal collection to the library. A photo of Marj is included in the book “Arcanum Chronicles” Volume 2 about the Arcanum Public Library, written by the late William Gunder.

Jeff does prerecorded readings on the radio for visually impaired listeners. They have tuned in for some time listening to the life and writings of Marj. Jeff read from her books which he found on the Dayton History Books web site. Her newspaper articles, where she wrote for the Journal Herald papers, was called “Third and Main”. Some of the archived articles can be found at the Wright State Library and on-line with Dayton History Books.

According to Jeff and the Dayton news memorial dated October 7 1969, Marj wrote about the wrestling matches for the sports column in the 1940’s. As reporter, she would have attended the matches to report from southern Ohio. Marj related these stories to the ladies at her “Tea With Marj” occasions throughout the Miami Valley. She had the crowd in tears from laughing while she kept a straight face herself.

According to Arcanum residents they told of their memories of Marj. Fred Troutwine remembers his dad Deo eating and chatting with Marj at Clarks also known later as the Main Street and the Korner Restaurant along with Rollard Karns, Roger Warner, and Roger Byrd. Jeannie Miller wrote about Marj in the January 2007 issue of the AWTHS newsletter. Jean Hillis recalls the bus stopping on Rt. 49 to pick her (Jean) up and continuing on to Dayton. Jean sat on the bus with Marj who also rode the bus to her job in Dayton after boarding in Arcanum and eating at the local restaurant.

Marj graduated from Stivers High School in 1931 and went on to major in Journalism at Ohio State. From there she went to work for the newspaper known as Old Dayton Herald in 1936. She became a staff member of the Dayton Press and later was on the radio show WING. Later she returned to the Herald in 1943 and began her Third and Main articles. She became editor of the women’s newspaper department and carried the title into the Journal and Herald merger in 1949. Marj then become the assistant editor in 1966. Marj passed away at her home September 15 1969 and was found by a neighbor. She was the wife of Emerson Heyduck in 1934 and they had no children. She is buried in Woodland Cemetery. She was 56 years old.

Her awards are many: Marj won more than 75 prizes over the years in annual contests of the Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association. She won a National Headliners Award in 1946; was given the best column in Ohio award by United Press International in 1963; and her women’s pages won first place in the University of Missouri’s Penney Award for Excellence in 1964. Marj traveled 23 times to the Columbia University from 1952-1968.
According to Jeff she traveled the world and her passport is proof displayed in our case. Covered subjects included and were written from the scenes of the national political convention and inaugural balls. As well as the decks of river boars bound for New Orleans; from international fashion shows on New York’s Fifth Avenue and from her stateroom aboard the SS Independence cruising in the Mediterranean. But her best memories were writing about Darke County and Greenville, Ohio. Her residence was Wayne Lakes and according to Jeff her house was red (Lot 50) and she talks about it in her books. Marj’s writings were so loved and her descriptive use of words that they were put into three books titled: Best of Marj; The Third Marj; and Anniversary Marj. I like the part about her driving her pink Cadillac to Dayton even on treacherous roads. Pink was one of her favorite colors.

We have more information and clippings in our AWTHS reference library located in the display case including Marj’s obit. Also a photo of Marj at her favorite local restaurant in Arcanum in our digital files.

For those with visual impairment, information can be found at by clicking Radio Reading Service under the Senior Services tab. Complete the application to apply for a free radio to access the radio program and hear other stories by readers. Other services include readings of local and regional newspapers and magazines to people with visual disabilities and other physical or mental impairments.

I hope you’ve enjoyed memories of Marj Heyduck. It certainly opened an avenue of learning for me about her life and writings as I was only a child at the time. And it is a great service what the Goodwill and Easter Seals are providing to those with reading difficulties. We appreciate Jeff and his service.

Written by Annette Stewart
March 2016

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