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Letter: Marioneaux’s life not one to be forgotten

When Lord Byron wrote, “She Walks in Beauty,” he didn’t appreciate that Mrs. Esther Commander Marioneaux would come along to Salisbury helping folks see his vision. Esther’s presence helped command an appreciation of classic beauty so depicted for true women of the south being always impeccably groomed without a hair out of place.

Joining her husband, Harold Marioneaux, Sr. who came to the Salisbury VA Medical Center as a physiatrist, Esther engaged with the community, teaching French and music to the students at J. C. Price High School and then through Salisbury High School. It pleased her to no end to receive hugs and sentiments from her students that she didn’t seem to have aged a bit, still as if she was in her 50s into her 80s. When they would recite a line of French dialogue, she knew she had done her work.

Bearing it all with the grace of a true “Fisk University” woman, Esther carried those traits throughout her more than 70 years as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She also served the Links, Inc., where she inaugurated their National Student Scholarships. An artful pianist, Esther served as the organist for Moore’s Chapel AME Zion Church for over 20 years, leaving them to join the First Presbyterian Church where their larger organ bellowed the anthems and hymns of her heart.

As a long time breast cancer survivor, Esther bore it all with few complaints, as had her husband with his illnesses.

They are survived by three children who, likewise, have served their respective communities with distinction — Deborah Allen, Harold J. Marioneaux, Jr. and Anita Martinez. Her life, as if a Reader’s Digest “most memorable character” with a style reminiscent of Loretta Young, Esther Commander Marioneaux was a presence not to be forgotten.

— Ada Fisher

Salisbury

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