Marian Hirsh passed on peacefully at 3:09 pm on Tuesday, July 20th with family by her side, including myself. I am Myke Metzger, Marian’s grandson, oldest son of Ed Metzger.
While it’s easy for us to be sad, Marian’s life story is not a sad one. She was a tremendous woman. She was born in 1931 to William D. Averell and Marian Kemmett and grew up with her sister Irene in Long Island, New York.
Marian Hirsh (then Marian Averell) was born in 1931 at the absolute height of the Great Depression, the worst depression ever experienced by the world economy – which I think explains a lot, because from that day forward her own life shaped her into one of the strongest, toughest, kindest, loving and most successful women I have had the fortune of knowing.
She had an impeccable memory and could remember the smallest details from throughout her life.
Global events that happened during her lifetime:
- Moon Landing in 1969
- Civil Rights Act in 1964
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- the Hydrogen Bomb
- the breakup of the Soviet Union
- Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his I Have a Dream speech
- September 11
- Invention of the World Wide Web
Marian was an outstanding student, or as they would call her then, an outstanding pupil. She was an honorary student and champion speller, even from her earliest days at the Boys and Girls of Merrick School in 1938. As she grew older she would make the most difficult of crossword puzzles look easy. She ultimately passed the skill of spelling down to her grandchildren, of course.
As a teenager she wasn’t just dedicated to academics, she was active in sports, dancing, softball, swimming, sewing, and glee club. I remember her telling me about her first job at the New York Telephone company in 1948, where she made just 40 cents an hour. If you were to look at just about anyone’s bucket list I could just about guarantee you that at the very top of all of them you’d see a list of desires that says:
- travel the world and see all there is to see.
- Fall in love.
- Start a business.
- Have a loving family.
- Win awards.
- Be a humble example of love, kindness, and success for others.
- Do all of the things that people say you can’t.
She did them all. She truly lived a fulfilling life.
Marian Averell would end up Marian Averell Metzger after marrying Lester Metzger.
Lester was a soldier in the Korean War. Grandma would tell us the story of when Lester came home from the war. There was no warning or notification beforehand… after not knowing if she’d see him again or what his status was, one day as grandma was doing dishes in the kitchen she looked out the window to find him walking his way up to the house.
It was a story that always stood out to me and my brothers.
They had two children together, 2 years apart. She had her first child, a boy, in April 1952. She named him Edward Metzger. In 1954 she had her first and only daughter, Leslie Metzger. Lester passed away in 1975.
Over time, she set her mind on being a professional businesswoman, and she did so. Not just a mother and grandmother, Marian eventually remarried and was a loving and admiring wife to Bob Hirsh. They worked together extensively and accomplished incredible things. Their legacy and their professional efforts continue to make a difference in the world even today. When Bob passed away in 2009 the company was handed down to a close family friend. Last I heard, the company was appointed to advise multiple countries in Africa to help find a successful approach to the nation’s healthcare. None of which is surprising. They did amazing work together. Bob was a military man who had extensive knowledge in healthcare, running army hospitals in contested parts of the world.
They lived most of their retired life together in Key Largo, Florida. Sufficiently earned. They went on over 30 different cruises across the world and saw everything there is to see.
Marian was a beautiful 5’2″ young businesswoman that weighed just 110 pounds, working in a completely male-dominated field. She fiercely worked her way to the top and accomplished many accolades along the way, just to name a few:
- President of the National Secretaries Association
- Member of the Society of Professional Management Consultants
- American Medical Students Association
- Co-editor of the book “Systems for Managing Your Practice”
- International Consultants Foundation
- A Certified Professional bureau Executive
- First woman president of the Hospital Bureaus of America & Chairman of the Professional Business Management Division of the Medical and Dental Bureaus of America
- She was one of only 3 women who held membership during her time in the Society of Professional Business Consultants
Marian and Bob met when she was hired as the Secretary-Treasurer at R.L. Hirsh Associates, Inc., Together they built Professional Management Corp. where she served as Vice President of the company, and was published in medical management magazines, and served lectures to physicians and private practices pertaining to medical business management.
Marian served as an Editorial Consultant and was on the Masthead of award-winning medical publications and magazines and was cherished for her participation in business education for doctors and medical students throughout the country.
Towards the end of her professional career, she delivered a lecture titled “BobbySox and Bubble Gum” – a heartfelt story about her rise to success as a woman in a male-dominated field. One was dubbed a Bobby Soxer if one wore bobby socks, chewed gum, and listened to Frankie Sinatra. Which she proudly did all 3. She was a huge Sinatra fan and even attended one of his concerts when she was younger and remembers her and her friends gawking at Mr. Blue Eyes.
She was a massive influence and inspiration in my personal career and the accolades I’ve chased over the past several years. She was always telling me to never stop learning and work hard to get into as many professional networks, councils, and associations as possible.
About 2 months ago, I personally was accepted into the Forbes Business Council, and I feel that her advice and guidance played a large part in my pursuit and attainment of that goal.
Probably the most astounding thing about Marian (other than her insanely gorgeous blue eyes), is that she likely spent more time on her son Eddie’s wrestling career than she ever did on her own career. She was his biggest fan throughout the years, where he became the New England Champion in 1973 at Springfield University in the 134-pound weight class and was ultimately inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2019 for his many achievements in the sport. We all spent that day together celebrating Eddie’s achievements, and I can remember how proud she was, even in her 80s.
Her daughter Leslie remembers these tournaments well, but she didn’t let them take away from her time with Mom on Saturdays when they would clean the house together – they would have girl talk and listen to the Rat Pack and Dean Martin. It’s clear that Leslie got her hard work ethic and ambition from her mother, if anything needs to get done assign it to her. Leslie started working for professional management Corp. at just 14 years old and credits many of her professional skills to what she learned from her mother during those years.
She was a proud mother of both Eddie and Leslie for their many accomplishments. My younger brother Matt shared a few words about Grandma, he mentioned:
“Growing up my conversations with grandma would always seem to revolve around the future. What are your plans? What’s next? What are you doing or working on?”
That was my experience, he said – but I know in everyone else’s experience she was just as supportive: A truly great woman. Supportive is an understatement – more of a guiding light for all of us.
She would come to town to see our wrestling matches every once in a while. Much like she would for my dad. She was always very popular with the crowd. She always loved watching the sport of wrestling.”
As she aged, Marian lived in Tampa, Florida in a beautiful one-story home with wicker furniture that you would probably expect if you’ve sat on any patio in Florida. She was surrounded by friends at the country club where she instructed yoga and water aerobics at over 70 years old. Her best friend of all for over 60 years strong, Shirley Cale, lived right across the street.
There was a single week in 2015 that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Marian had a fall and injured her jaw, and although the accident was unfortunate – I will forever be grateful that it happened because I got to spend time with her directly one on one and actually get to know her.
I got to meet all of her friends, dance, drink, and play bingo with everyone – and I can tell you that it’s not just family that feels this way about Marian – it was everyone. Everyone’s face lit up when she and I walked into the room for Bingo. They loved being around her.
My trip to Tampa happened at a crucial time in my life where I was really trying to get off the destructive path I was on and trying to create a new future for myself. While I was there with her, I learned so much about her, her relationship with Bob, and how they met – and how they built a flourishing business together, as well as a happy marriage. They were deeply in love and had such admiration for each other. She showed me every single cherished souvenir or gift she had collected from their trips together and told me all about each one. Some of these souvenirs I’m honored to have in my home today. I can specifically remember flipping through the massive Rolodex she still had in her home office, and it had hundreds of international businessmen labeled by location and industry with all of their contact information. She was a woman with a plan, and she executed it to the best of her ability at all times.
Even in her later years she always showed control, wisdom, and responsibility when it came to making the best decisions for her and her family’s future. She knew when it was time to hand over the keys to her car and her beautiful home in Florida to move here to Virginia to be closer to family. She moved to Virginia on her birthday, March 19th, 2018.
We are so grateful to have had the time with her that we did, and if it were not for her own foresight, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and love for herself and those around her – we may have not gotten that time at all. I’d also like to thank my stepmother – Marian’s daughter-in-law Dee Metzger, from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices she made in order to make sure Marian was able to enjoy the last several months of her life. We love you and appreciate you very much for all that you’ve done.
We would spend time sitting on the front porch hanging out listening to music. She really loves Frank Sinatra, if you didn’t know. Her sense of humor, politeness and guiding attitude never faded. If you ask her how she likes her coffee, she’ll tell you “free”. If you dare cross her little boy Ed – you may end up with a laser beam stare. She never worried about Leslie because she knew she took after her mother and could take care of business. Thumbs pointed in the living room mean it’s time to watch doctor Phil, listen to ol’ blue eyes, or take a nap.
She was unbelievably beautiful, kind, professional, polite, and strong. She set an amazing example for her friends and her family, and everyone around her. It’s easy to be sad, but it’s also easy to smile. She led a life thoroughly lived. She did it all. Marian – a grandma, great-grandma, mom, aunt, wife, educator, and friend – she paved the way for us all. She endured harder times than most of us can comprehend.
Anyone who knew Marian knew that she loved to dance. I would always jump at the opportunity to dance with Grandma whenever I could. Everyone in this room has likely poured Marian a glass of red wine at some point and will know that she always enjoyed a couple of ice cubes with her wine.
I think an appropriate send-off for her would be one final toast – so raise your glass of wine –
To Marian, we will miss you more than words could ever explain.
Now that you are gone – it is a time for gratitude, happiness, celebration, and appreciation for one of the greatest people that I’ve ever known – my amazing grandmother, Marian Hirsh. Thank you for everything. You will live forever in our hearts and on our walls. We would all be lucky to have lived half the life you led for the past 90 years.
Cheers, and May you Rest In Peace.
– eulogy given by Myke Metzger in Amelia, Virginia at Marian’s funeral. She was buried on Friday, July 23 at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery at 10300 Pridesville Rd. in Amelia, Va.