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Former Seminary employee Virginia Marcum dies at age 90

Jul 07, 2011
Virginia Marcum, who served as President’s Secretary at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for 20 years died peacefully at her home in Louisville, Ky., on July 4, 2011. She was 90 years old.

Mrs. Marcum was called to Louisville Seminary in 1965 by Dr. Frank H. Caldwell, President from 1936 to 1964, to work with Interim President Dr. Julian Price Love. “It was only supposed to be a temporary position—yet I’m still here,” she said in a Louisville Seminary interview at the time of her retirement in 1985.

Over the years, she became very knowledgeable about the history of the Seminary during the 1960s through the 1980s, and she is remembered for the gracious ways in which she reached out to members of the Seminary community.

“Because of Virginia Marcum, I spent my first night in Louisville with an elegant picnic basket she had filled with goodies for my new home,” said Dr. Kathryn Johnson about her arrival as a new professor on the Seminary’s campus. “She crossed over the bridge to the new computer age with humor and grace, if occasionally a well-chosen word for the new contraptions! And it was always her commitment that the face of LPTS should be one of welcome and service.”

Seminary Dean Dr. David C. Hester echoed Johnson’s recollections of Mrs. Marcum, adding “She was very welcoming to my family and me when I arrived in 1985. We frequently saw her at Highland Presbyterian Church. Unfailingly, on those brief encounters in the church or church parking lot, she would ask about her friends at the Seminary and want to be remembered to them.”

As a student during the late 1960s, Dr. David R. Sawyer, now a Louisville Seminary professor and administrator, remembers her as a “warm, welcoming presence in the president's office, always interested in students and their progress, always willing to help with a great smile. She was a paradigm of the climate and culture of the Seminary in those days,” he said.

Virginia Marcum was married to Dr. Max Marcum, a physician who served with the Navy in two wars, was stationed on both coasts, and worked for a time in Memphis, Tenn., before continuing his medical practice in Louisville. He preceded her in death in 1977.

She is survived by her son, Max "Hardy" Marcum (Sally); grandson, Forest Marcum (Allison); and her beloved great-grandchildren, Laine, Laila, and Reid.

Virginia Marcum was a member of The Woman's Club of Louisville and a longtime member of Highland Presbyterian Church. A memorial will be held Friday, July 8, 2011, at Pearson's Funeral Home in Louisville, Ky. (149 Breckenridge Lane), with private burial in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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