I write this through tears, having just received a note that Marion Lane died suddenly Monday night of complications from congestive heart failure. I didn’t know she was ill. The pet-writing world is stunned in its surprise and grief. My deepest sympathies to her husband and family.
Marion Lane was a gifted writer, passionate pet advocate, brilliant editor and mentor to writers both new and established. I first met Marion when she worked at the ASPCA, and I was honored to write for her when she served as editor of the award-winning ASPCA magazine. She also authored two books, Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Dog Care: Everything You Need to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
When the Cat Writers Association was in its early years and seeking support, it was Marion who approached the ASPCA on our behalf and secured sponsorship that continues to this day. She was also involved for many years with the Dog Writers Association of American, served on the DWAA board and after her retirement from the ASPCA she briefly served as editor of the DWAA newsletter.
I always got a great kick out of her email signature, which had always been the formal credentials of her position at the ASPCA until she left. Henceforth she signed herself, “Marion Lane, Retired Person.”
This dry recitation of facts doesn’t begin to paint a picture of the Marion we all knew and loved. Many of us are better writers today because of Marion–and dare I say, a few got their start because of her generous help. I never saw Marion without a smile. I never heard or read anything from Marion that wasn’t cordial, helpful, and at times pointed but always honest. At our most recent CWA conference, Marion attended–a seasoned pro who could have (and had!) taught many of us what it means to be a writer–and yet she sat in the audience, attentive, asking questions, encouraging newer folks and making the speakers feel like we truly had something worthy to offer. She did put up a fight over who got to hold Zeki, a lovely demo kitty visiting the conference, and of course Marion won!
I saved one of her last email notes of encouragement and praise of the CWA preview of STRAYS to share it with the cast, and now I’ve added it to the STRAYS page as a tribute to her. That’s just the kind of person she was, offering kewl uplifting and unexpected gifts–and I hope we live up to her expectations.
She always had kind words, it seems, and I wish…oh, how I wish!…I’d told her more often how much that meant to me. Please tell your mentors, tell your friends, tell your colleagues NOW what a difference they make! Don’t wait. Sometimes “later” never comes.
Marion loved her family. She loved her pets. And she loved and supported her friends. And we loved her.
I will miss her, deeply. But now the heaven’s have a new star. May we all be worthy of the light Marion continues to shine upon us.
Audrey writes, “If you would like to honor Marion’s memory, please consider making a donation to the ASPCA in her name. Marion was a former editor at the A, and was a strong believer in their work for animals.”
And friends of Marion, feel free to leave a note about a special memory in the comments, possibly to be included in a future CWA piece about our colleague.
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