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RIP Marka Hibbs of Pasadena -- "at the intersection of art and science" ... and she threw some great parties.





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When Marka Hibbs died suddenly in Pasadena at the end of last month, a family friend said she and her late husband, and their wide circle of friends, created a lifestyle that “celebrated the quintessential Pasadena intersection of art and science.” Hibbs was 78. Off-Ramp correspondent Hank Rosenfeld went to her memorial.

Hank's Remembrance:

I knew Marka through a friend of mine who was IN LOVE with Marka’s stepdaughter, Victoria. They allll lived in a huge warm Craftsman on Prospect Boulevard up there above the Rose Bowl.

Marka was a widow who went about 5-feet tall with fiery red hair and her second husband was Al Hibbs, who worked at JPL as head of the Space Science Division -- He worked on Voyager and the house is full of amaaaazing photographs of California and the U-S and the world … from outer space.

Marka’s son Larry Wilson, the public editor of the Pasadena Star-News and a terrific columnist, held the memorial for her on the lawn of the house a couple Sundays ago. A lotta people showed up … like back in the days when she hosted wild salons and costume parties, benefits and events featuring Richard Feynman and Timothy Leary, Russian space scientists... Larry said it was like living at a caterers.

Plus: she knew Zorthian..ZORTHIAN!! wild armenian character who held a Primavera art and music and debauchery fest every spring up top of Lake Street in AltaDena.

Marka had many fans. Larry said she influenced a generation of kids at Flintridge Prep when she was librarian there in the 70s and '80s.

At the memorial, they pulled a pine tree inside from the garden and attached dozens of notes on the branches: These were "Memories of Marka" that friends and family were asked to jot down. I asked the Hibbs family if I could share some on radio and they said okay:

"What a classy lady" ... "Feisty."

"Marka was the belle of the ball...she received endless compliments on her blue mohair sweater and the way it set off her beautiful eyes...I will miss her gentle graciousness and spirit."

"Marka is the embodiment of genuine, inspirational love. Love as in real class, no judgment against other souls."

"She went swimming with Birut Galdikas in Borneo!"

"I remember all the times Marka told the truth -- which was always! Especially powerful in that others of us may have been unwilling or unable to see things so clearly."

"I met Marka to do carpentry work on her house. I consider Marka a friend. I was always looking for an excuse to work on Marka's house. Brought a lot of sunshine to a gloomy day."

"LIBRARIANS (like Marka) ROCK!"

"Marka had her own supply of Texas Iced Tea...and the bride entered on horseback..."

"The first time I met Marka was at our very first musical fundraiser at the house for the Pasadena Museum of History. Marka arrived with a beautiful bunch of Gerber Daisies that she cut from her garden."

"Marka was a second mother to me, as i now know she was to so many others...I can hear her say "Oh Miguel" still.."

"I remember her homemade mayonnaise, which apparently I ate a whole jar..."

"I lost a wonderful neighbor, a dear and thoughtful friend, one who always called to say "I miss you. Stop by."

Marka went to Scripps College and the school motto was perfect for her memorial: Incipit Vita Nova: "Enter a new life." Marka Hibbs’ personal philosophy was, "What is to become of all of us?"

For Off-Ramp, I’m Hank Rosenfeld.