Marian Menges, 93

Economic and social justice activist

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Marian E. Menges, 93, of Oak Park, died on March 3, 2017 with her children by her side. Born in South Bend, Indiana in 1923, she graduated as her high-school's valedictorian at 17, was offered a full scholarship to the University of Chicago in 1940, moved to the Chicago area in 1941 and attended Northwestern University. In 1947, she married Richard (Dick) Menges, her husband of 59 years. They moved to Oak Park in 1961 where she resided for the rest of her life. 

Ms. Menges worked as an elementary school teacher, legal secretary, and bookkeeper. Additionally, she worked with the Oak Park Housing Center during its infancy, and she and her husband were instrumental in its development. 

After retirement, she returned to work at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio to provide financial assistance for her grandchildren's college education. A lifelong learner who never stopped taking advantage of opportunities to explore and experience life, she and her husband traveled all over the world. She avidly appreciated the arts and culture in the Chicago area, loved to read, sing, paint, and dance, and was an ardent movie and opera buff. 

She was an enthusiastic swimmer and saved the lives of four people from drowning over the course of her life. 

She and her husband were very engaged in, and devoted to, social and economic justice and took part in a variety of movements and organizations such as the Oak Park Independent Democrats. 

Marian Menges is survived by her sister, JoAnn; her children, Michael, Chris (Jean), Patricia, Rich, and Cathy (David); and her grandchildren, Suzanna, Andrea, Paul, and Tim. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dick. 

She had "a life well lived." May she rest in peace and power. 

Per her request, no memorial service is planned. The family appreciates donations to her favorite area charities: Thresholds (a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to the mentally ill) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Chicago (NAMI).

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