Mary Baker Marks
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Mary Baker Marks

MARKS: Mary Baker Marks. Born in the Lower Hill District of Pittsburgh on June 11, 1926, Mary Baker Marks was the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Baker of Lithuanian descent. Mary’s immigrant mother lost her spouse at a young age, leaving Sarah to raise seven children on her own, relying on perseverance, strength and belief in G-d —qualities that she passed on to Mary. Mary assisted her mom by working in a grocery store after school and weekends for $4 per week. Upon graduation from Fifth Avenue High School, Mary took a position with Cazen’s, a wholesale kosher food distributor, and at the same time, attended evening classes at the University of Pittsburgh. At 18, Mary wed the first love of her life, Karl Zlotnik, with whom she had two children, Joanne (the late Jeffrey Pobiner) and Stanley (Nikol). Tragedy struck their blissful life at an early stage and Karl, at age 27, passed away from rheumatic heart disease. Like her mom, Mary was widowed at a young age. With a 3-year-old daughter and 12-month-old son, Mary continued to work as a bookkeeper with Cazen’s and then with B & L Sour Cream. Well-appreciated and highly esteemed by her boss, he introduced her to his close friend, Herbert “Marky” Marks. In 1956, several years after Karl’s death, they married. Her third child, David (Dori), was born in 1958. Mary then took an accounting job with Children’s Hospital, a position she held until Herbert’s health began to decline. At age 57, Mary retired and became a full-time caregiver for her husband. Four years later, twice widowed, she chose not to return to her professional career, but instead concentrated on her grandchildren and volunteer work. Well known for her wit, sense of humor and big heart, she devoted her time to Children’s Hospital and the Jewish Community Center, where she became a fixture. An early participant in the JCC Yiddish class, she was asked to assume teaching responsibilities for one year. One year turned into 25 years based on her enormous following. With attendance standing room only regularly, her classes always ended with an off-color Yiddish joke. Mary also volunteered with the JCC Friendship Line where she was tasked with calling on two or three senior citizens and wishing them a good Sabbath each Friday. In a short time, those two or three calls grew to over 300 weekly Sabbath calls. As a result, she became affectionately known as “Shabbos Mary” with people near and far hoping to make her call list. The recipient of several service awards, including the Lillian Goldstein Senior Volunteer Leadership Award, Jewish Association on Aging Eight Over Eighty, Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh’s Tribute for Three, and Technion Women’s Division Outstanding Dedication Award, Mary also was a life member of Hadassah, Na’amat, and Weinberg Ladies Auxiliary, where she coordinated their benevolent fund. The longest-living tenant of the Maxon Towers, building management and her neighbors recognized her as the “Maxon Mayor” along with neighbor and former Pittsburgh mayor, Sophie Masloff. A steadfast and trusted friend to many, she frequently coordinated dinner and entertainment outings with the Maxon Towers group called “Friends Forever.” Mary was a devoted sister to her lone surviving sibling, Rose Thompson, as well as her predeceased siblings, Sam Baker, Donald Baker, Esther Karpo, Sylvia Karpo and Sally Chudacoff. More than anything else, her calling was the role of mother and grandmother. She served this role with an unmatched excellence and distinction, an adoring and loving mother and then grandmother to her eight grandchildren, including Joshua Marks (Brooke), Jordan Marks (Zohar), Ben Marks, Dustin Marks, Adam Marks, Shawn Pobiner (Lisa), Todd Pobiner, and Dana Feldman (Michael). The matriarch of the family, she also was a doting great-grandmother to her four great-grandchildren, Jeffrey Pobiner, Sloan Marks, Jacob Feldman and Dylan Feldman. Services were held at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. Interment Tiphereth Israel Cemetery. Contributions in Mary’s memory may be made to the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, Chabad of Squirrel Hill, Western Pennsylvania Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Stanley M. Marks Endowed Research Fund at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. schugar.com PJC

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