by Stephen Sachs
Everyone has them. The favorite relatives who visit at a family gathering. A cherished pair of grandparents, a blessed aunt and uncle. Family members so fun, so kind-hearted, supportive and filled with good cheer that you actually look forward to seeing them. For all of us at the Fountain Theatre for decades, Marcia and Mirk Mirkin were that treasured duo. We lost Mirk (Irwin) in 2015 at the age of eighty-eight. We now say good-bye to Marcia Mirkin, who passed away last Friday at eighty-three.
Marcia and Mirk were so connected as a couple, so deeply married, that Mirk passed away on June 20th, the day of their 60th wedding anniversary. That kind of devoted bond at life’s end was no stranger to me. My mother died on the 52nd anniversary of her wedding to my father.
Mirk and Marcia Mirkin were jolly parents to all of us at the Fountain. Mirk with his sly grin and playful glint in his eyes. Marcia, arms open wide, the big mamma you wish you had, proudly bestowing you with accolades when you hit a home run and scolding you lovingly when you sometimes struck out.
Marcia kept coming to the Fountain after Mirk passed. Nothing would keep her away from the theatre she loved. As her own health declined, she’d still get herself here for every production, even when she now required extra help getting to her seat.
Marcia spoke forcefully from the stage at our memorial service for our beloved staff member, Ben Bradley. And she mourned with us when we lost our subscription sales diva, Diana Gibson. Diana and Marcia were close pals.
My strongest feeling of Marcia Mirkin is her huge embrace. Marcia wrapping her large arms around me, smiling broadly, bathing me in praise like a son. I bet each and every one of us at the Fountain felt they were her favorite. She made you feel that way.
Marcia passed away on Friday, December 8th, 2017, by her own choice. She was in hospice care at home in terminal condition and had been approved for the End of Life program at Kaiser. It breaks my heart to learn of her passing but I admire her decision to conclude her life on her own terms.
The Fountain Theatre was on her mind days before her final Friday. As one of her last mortal duties, she had her daughter Karen send me a manuscript written by a patient she knew in a prison hospice unit suffering from AIDS and MS, encouraged by his therapist to tell his life story in his own words. Marcia believed it was a story of “trauma, healing and redemption.” Telling his life story “could help at-risk youth and prevent them from going into the penal system.” She thought it could make a good play.
This was on her mind, in her heart, days before she had scheduled her own exit from this world.
Our hearts ache with the loss of our dear friend, Marcia Mirkin. We salute a remarkable woman who enjoyed a meaningful life. Even gone, she and Mirk will remain with us always.
Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre.