On Sunday, December 2, 2012, Norwalk United Methodist Church celebrated the life of Marjorie Appleby and gave thanks to her for 58 years of volunteer service to both the church and the Norwalk community.
Marge, who turned 90 years old on Nov. 25th, and her husband, Dr. Robert E. Appleby, a pediatrician, moved to Norwalk in 1954 from Texas. Dr. Appleby, who studied to be a pediatrician in the Air Force at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, opened his practice in Norwalk after tending to Air Force families in Texas for two years.
Almost immediately, the Applebys began serving their community together. During her tenure at NUMC, Marge was the first female Lay Leader of the church, Chair of the Council of Ministries and President of NUMC’s unit of United Methodist Women. She also was a President of the League of Women Voters in Norwalk and, with her husband, co-founded four school-based health centers.
In 1993, the first Dr. Robert E. Appleby School-based Health Center opened in Brian McMahon, to provide on-site school-based health care to children and adolescents in need. After Dr. Appleby passed away in 1995, Marge continued to opened centers in his name. The four centers are located at Norwalk High School, Brian McMahon High School, Briggs High School, and Nathan Hale Middle School.
At NUMC, Marge led a Tuesday morning Bible study group for the past 11 years. Among her other volunteer services, Marge created prayer and self-denial services, volunteered at the semi-annual rummage sale, prepared food for the monthly soup kitchen service, led the team which prepared lunch for volunteers of the annual Homefront project, and managed the coffee hour program. In addition, on dozens of occasions over the years, Marge opened her home to church events and welcomed pastors, their families and the congregation in.
On Sunday, Dec. 2nd, NUMC dedicated the morning service to her, and a half dozen speeches were given, while an extended coffee hour included a celebratory cake. During the service, Senator Bob Duff of Norwalk and Darien presented Marge with a proclamation from the State of Connecticut thanking her for her years of dedication and service to the city of Norwalk. The proclamation says:
“IN RECOGNITION OF: your years as an involved resident of the City of Norwalk and fifty-plus years as a member of the Norwalk United Methodist Church. In that time, you have served NUMC as a lay leader, former president of the United Methodist Women, have volunteered your time in the soup kitchen and have most recently lead the church’s study group. We thank you for the many large and small things you have done for NUMC and the community at-large. We wish you the very best as you begin this newest chapter of an already full life.”
Two of her children, Dr. Robin Appleby and his wife Susan, and her daughter Ellen Appleby and her husband Lenny, were by her side for the occasion.
On Wednesday, Dec. 5th, Marge moved to Maryland to be closer to her daughter Carol Appleby Vanko. She will be greatly missed by all.
“Marge is an angel sent from heaven,” said Rev. R. Randy Day, pastor of Norwalk United Methodist Church, who presided over Sunday’s ceremonies. “Her talents are far reaching. She is irreplaceable and we are eternally grateful to Marge for all she has done for the church, the congregation and the community throughout the years. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her much happiness as she starts this next chapter in her life.”