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MARION H. LEPKIN  (published on May 09, 2009)

MARION H. LEPKIN A pioneering woman journalist, Marion H. Lepkin died Friday, May 1, 2009, at Misericordia Place Personal Care Home after a long illness. She was 85. A voracious reader, she was intensely interested in culture and current events and continued to study after retirement with classes at the University of Winnipeg. She was passionate about fairness, words, autumn and the prairie sky. Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Marion graduated from Brandon Collegiate, where she won the Governor General's Medal and was class president in Grade 11 and won an Isbister Scholarship and was class valedictorian in Grade 12. She studied piano from the age of nine and received first-class honours in her Grade 10 music exam. At Brandon College, she won an IODE scholarship in second year and another in third year, when she was editor of the students' monthly newspaper. She edited the college yearbook in fourth year and graduated at 20 with an honours BA in political economy, distinguishing herself with gold medals in economics, sociology and general proficiency. At 23 she entered journalism by way of a job at the Winnipeg Free Press, where she had a long and distinguished career as a writer and editor. She was a feature writer and news reporter, covering beats that included suburban affairs, education, Winnipeg city hall and the Manitoba legislature. She began her editing career as a junior sub-editor and worked through the editorial ranks to become telegraph editor, chief copy editor, assistant city editor and Canadian news editor. After moving into entertainment in 1955, she wrote a weekly column of television criticism (in addition to her duties as national editor) and made numerous appearances on radio and television shows. In 1961 she became editor of the Saturday Free Press Radio-TV Guide, single-handedly editing stories, choosing photographs, writing headlines and cutlines and doing layout. She wrote radio news for the Free Press and for the CBC and, while living in Los Angeles for 15 months, attended seminars on radio writing, acting and production. Marion was predeceased by her husband, Ben Lepkin, and by her only sibling, her brother Robert (Bob) Epton. She is survived by her sisters-in-law, Esther Tessler Breslaw and Rita Lepkin of Winnipeg and Mollie Wash of Apopka, Florida; her brother Bob's children - Lynda Arial, Susan Rasko, Kate McCarthy and Robert Epton - and their families of Edmonton; her nieces Susan Tessler and Debby Davis of Winnipeg and Shelley Robertson and Arlene Klapman of Toronto and their families, and her nephew Gary Lepkin of Winnipeg. She will be missed, too, by her dear friend Vera Mardon of Winnipeg and her godson, Christopher Mardon of Vancouver. A celebration of Marion's life will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Bardal Funeral Home, 843 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg. Commemorative donations to Brandon University or The Winnipeg Foundation, where a memorial fund has been set up in Marion's name, would be appreciated.

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