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posted Monday November 2nd, 2009


You know that Bare Naked Ladies song “If I Had a Million Dollars?”

Well, if I had a million dollars, I’d spend it the way Maxine and Jonathan Marshall did. Their Marshall Fund brings smart book authors and well-versed poets to town on a regular basis. And twice a year, the butterflies come, too.

The butterfly pavilion at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden is among my favorite places in town. Yesterday the girls and I met our dear friend Trish there — and while we didn’t have nearly enough time to enjoy everything the garden has to offer, since I screwed up and had to whisk Annabelle away to dance rehearsal — we did spend a hunk of time with some enormous monarch butterflies.

I looked at the sign in the butterfly pavilion as I always do, and silently thanked the Marshalls. And I thought about Jonathan, who died earlier this year. He was one of my earliest heroes, the owner and editor of the Scottsdale Daily Progress, my hometown newspaper. He was a liberal among conservatives, an opinionated guy. Wicked smart.

By the time I finished grad school and applied for my first newspaper job, the Marshalls had sold the Progress — after that, it was never the paper it once was, suffering multiple big owners and eventually shutting its doors, gobbled by its parent company – but I was still proud to work there. And even prouder when I was invited to join a “multi-generational” book club that included Maxine among its members. We often met at the Marshalls’ home.

Yesterday was Day of the Dead, and the garden had a big party. Fitting.

And too fitting for my taste is the news just this morning of another death. The East Valley Tribune, Phoenix’s “second” daily newspaper (the Arizona Republic is the first), is closing.

Jonathan Marshall wouldn’t be pleased about that at all.

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Tags: Filed under: death by Amysilverman

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