Remembering Marge Blocks

Marge Blocks, stalwart champion of MPN patients and all around wonderful person, passed away on Sunday March 12, 2017 surrounded by her family. 

Marge spent her formative years growing up on Circle Avenue in Norwood Park, Chicago attending Norwood Park Grammar School and William H. Taft High School.  An idyllic childhood included doting grandparents, a favorite aunt and lifelong friends who lived on the street. Piano lessons, an active church member, and Camp Fire Girls started Marge on a lifelong journey of caring for others and supporting her community.  An accompanist for Taft High School’s Chorus, she met her lifelong love with his 1956 chorus tryout rendition of “Don’t Step on My Blue Suede Shoes” which left her laughing instead of musically impressed. DePauw University’s School of Nursing started her career.  She remains pals with her DePauw class to this day.

Marge and Roger Garman Blocks married on October 6, 1962.  While Roger served in the United States Army, Marge put her nursing degree to work.  Two daughters rounded out their family. Partners always, after their Army years, they finally settled in Racine, Wisconsin for Roger’s metallurgical career. Roger always joked that Marge was “his only visible means of support.”  She gave him full support to explore and create new companies while managing the household and her career.  After years of staff nursing, Marge joined Gateway Technical College in 1976 as an instructor first in their LPN program and then was the RN Medical Surgical Nursing Instructor.  She retired after 24 years of teaching future nurses.

Marge’s wish to play in a piano bar never came to fruition but she did share her talents weekly in church and the church choir for over 60 years.  She was the pianist for The Woodland String Orchestra in Three Lakes, Wisconsin and this experience was a true highlight for her.  A day rarely went by in which she did not practice her craft.  Her other personal goals included reading a book a week, a cross word a day, and exercising with running, walking, and bike trips around the world. Trivia games and Jeopardy were Marge’s to dominate.

Commitment to her community was evident by her volunteer endeavors.  Big Brothers/Big Sisters brought a lifelong family relationship with two boys, organized clothing drives and meals for La Iglesia de la Trinidad Mission Church in Milwaukee, teaching Sunday School and Girl Scouts, musicals and after school program help, she was always happy serving others.  Developing a support group for other MPN cancer survivors with rare blood disorders was a cause that meant a great deal to her.

Survived by her husband and co-pilot of 54 years, Roger. Daughters Barbara (Jim) Jamicich and Elizabeth (Slavko) Ivankovic.  Six grandchildren: Laura, James, and Anna Jamicich; Dan, TJ, and Sam Ivankovic. Cousins Mary (Lawrence) Jewell and Thomas (Marilyn) Lawrence. Sister-in-law Darla (Willard) McBurney, extended family and friends. Preceded in death by her parents Estella Mae (Lawrence) and George Eaton, Aunt Grace Lawrence and Uncle Thomas (Helen) Lawrence. She left about forty cousins, nieces and nephews and numerous church affiliations.  All will miss her.

A memorial service will be held on June 24 at the Chapel in the Pines in Three Lakes, Wisconsin and internment at Union Ridge Cemetery, Norwood Park, Chicago. Illinois In lieu of flowers, suggested memorials include the Marjorie Blocks RN scholarship at Gateway Technical College (Kenosha, WI); Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Disorder (MPN) Foundation (Chicago, IL); or The Demmer Library Foundation (Three Lakes, WI).

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