Obituary : Marion W. Leavens
Marion Wright Backus Leavens (Pinkie) of Naples, Fla., and West Tisbury died peacefully at age 100 on July 3 in Naples. Born in Windsor Locks, Conn. on August 27, 1907, she was the daughter of Lillian and Harold Backus, M.D. Raised in West Hartford, Marion graduated from the University of Vermont and married John M. Leavens in 1932. They were long-time residents of Summit, N.J. where they raised their three sons. Marion was active in Calvary Episcopal Church, the College Club, the Summit Playhouse, and throughout her life, in Pi Beta Phi Sorority.
For 47 years, the Leavens were seasonal residents of Chilmark, where they built their home "Roxbury" overlooking Menemsha Pond. They sailed the local waters in their catboat "Pinkletink" and in 1962, they founded the Catboat Association, attracting members from around the world. More recently, Marion spent summers in West Tisbury. She was a long-time member of the First Congregational Church, Polly Hill Arboretum, the Martha's Vineyard Garden Club and an avid supporter of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. She was often seen driving the family's 1947 Willis Jeep, walking the beaches, and studying the flora and fauna. Her love for the Vineyard was profiled in "More Vineyard Voices."
Throughout her remarkable life, Marion remained deeply involved with her extended family and was noted for her wit, charm, and ability to recite her own poetry at many family celebrations. She maintained a forward-thinking, optimistic outlook that inspired people of all ages. Many family and friends gathered for her 100th birthday celebration last summer where she regaled them with her humor, story-telling, and youthful spirit.
Marion is survived by two sons, Peter and his wife Sharon of Newark, Del., and Douglas and his wife Judy of Kensington, Md.; granddaughters Karla Leavens and Jillian Cosgrove, grandson Ivan Leavens; great granddaughter Alexa Cosgrove, great grandsons Miles and Sloan Leavens; five nieces, two nephews, seven great-nieces and four great-nephews, along with their children. She was predeceased by her husband, eldest son John M. Leavens, Jr. and his wife Bridget, grandsons Andrew D. Leavens and Alexander W. Leavens, and sister Ann B. Muddle.
A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on August 16 at the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The First Congregational Church or the Martha's Vineyard Museum.