Marjorie Anne Kivell, 92, died peacefully on 24th July 2023, at Kendal, Hanover, NH. Her faith in God and devotion to the church were the foundations on which she built her life.
Born in 1931 in Yonkers, New York, to Harold and Hazel Austin - a civil engineer and a pianist - she always enjoyed school, attending Roosevelt High School in Yonkers. Marjorie then majored in French, a subject she relished, at Colby College in Maine.
After working in NYC for a few years as a secretary, she moved to California with her first husband and young son, Bill. While there, her daughter, Adele, was born. The marriage broke down and she returned to NY with her two young children. Marjorie was a wonderful mother, always making time for family dinners, badminton games and early evening outdoor swims. Her laugh was ready and infectious. She was unfailingly kind, polite, thoughtful and a wonderful conversationalist - truly interested in people and always one of the very last to leave the post-service coffee gatherings on Sunday mornings! She was very involved with her local Episcopal church, as her father and mother had been. In her working life, she was employed as an administrator for a doctor and at two different colleges, helping to develop a student portfolio system at one.
In the early 1970s, Marjorie met Donald Kivell at church, and they married soon after, blending their combined four children together into one family. Don shared Marjorie’s religious conviction and, very well-matched, they were truly happy together until Don’s death in 2020.
Marjorie became secretary to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in New York, where she met many interesting religious figures, and picked up a slight southern drawl, as the Bishop was from Mississippi. Following her interests, she joined the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, a group of women across the US who focus on prayer and spiritual growth, meeting many kindred spirits with whom she shared friendship and an active correspondence.
They both retired in 1988 and moved to Pittsburgh, PA, commencing study at Trinity Seminary. Marjorie received her MA there in 1992, learning Greek in the process, and then taught at the seminary.
Family was always very important to Marjorie, and she and Don kept up to date and involved with their four children and their young families, through frequent letters and phone calls. Visits to see the much-adored grandchildren were as frequent as possible, to California, the North East and the UK.
In 2007, Marjorie and Don moved to Kendal, in Hanover, NH. She adjusted to this new phase of her life and got involved in many activities, including gardening (an old interest), bird watching (a new interest - she even enjoyed the early morning starts!), leading singing sessions with Don in the Memory Ward, and managing the Attic shop for many years.
During these years, Marjorie converted to the Orthodox faith and found a church in Claremont, NH, where she was very happy. Her last years at Kendal were quiet and prayerful. She always had a warm smile, quiet grace, and a calm temperament.
She is survived by her daughter, two step-daughters, her six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Her family is most grateful for the excellent and compassionate care that she received in the last years of her life at Kendal.
She was buried at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, NY.
A Note from a Friend
For those of you who didn't know her, Marjorie just loved the Orthodox Church. Her husband Don was a practicing Anglican and she loved Orthodoxy. They respected each other's religious choices completely. After Marjorie stopped feeling comfortable driving to church by herself, her husband would drive her.
She always stood on the left side. A slim and tallish, well- if simply-dressed woman, she had an elegance I admired.
She cooked when it was her turn like we were her most precious family, often making expensive roasts and happily serving it up.
She had dementia in the latter part of her life and stopped attending services. To my understanding she was well-taken care of at Kendall.
I do not know how she fared after her loyal husband passed a year or two ago.
May Marjorie's memory be eternal!
A Note from HROC
A “gentle soul,” this expression first comes to mind when we think about Marjorie. And then—"gentle, strong soul”; and finally—"very gentle, very strong, and very faithful one.” The way she moved, spoke with us, and did things in and for our church had an aura of peace and comfort. She was a friend to all HROC parishioners.
Rest in peace, dear Marjorie; we remember you with gratitude!