Irwin Marks, 87, of Acushnet, died on Saturday, September 9, 2006 at Boston Medical Center, while recovering from cancer surgery.
He was the husband of Cynthia Louise (Jackson) Marks and the son of the late Maurice P. Marks and Estelle (Serebrin) Marks.
He was born in New York City and received a B.S. degree in zoology from the City College of New York (now the City University of New York). He did graduate studies in entomology at Oregon State College (now Oregon State University) until the outbreak of World War II. He was inducted into Phi Sigma, the National Biology Honor Society. In 1946-47, he pursued a master’s degree in international studies at the American Institute for Foreign Trade (now Thunderbird: The Garvin School of International Management).
Mr. Marks was a World War II veteran, having served from 1942 to 1946, first as commanding officer of sub chasers escorting convoys in the Caribbean and Atlantic, then as third in command of a destroyer escort, taking part in a number of invasions, including Borneo and Okinawa. He participated in the liberation of both Hong Kong and Shanghai. He was mustered out in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant, senior grade.
Mr. Marks’ business career was as an international film distribution executive. He worked for 16 years as a Columbia Pictures executive in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Argentina, and finally as assistant to the foreign manager in New York. He then joined United Artists, first as assistant continental manager, later continental manager headquartered in Paris. He also worked in Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Barcelona as managing director.
Retiring in January 1983, he and his wife Cynthia, whom he had met and married in Bogotá, Colombia, settled in Acushnet in April 1983 in the Jackson family homestead. Mr. Marks participated actively in the life of the community. He was past chairman of the Acushnet Historical Commission, project coordinator for the restoration of the 1759 Long Plain Friends Meetinghouse, past president of the Acushnet Citizens Together Improving Our Neighborhood (ACTION), past chairman of South Coast EmPOWERment, past chairman of the Volunteer Council of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and long-time editor of Spoutings, its monthly newsletter, and public affairs officer of the Greater New Bedford NO-COALition. He also served on various Town committees, including the Community Preservation Committee. He was a long-time member of the Acushnet Historical Society, Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, Paskamansett Bird Club, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Kendall Whaling Museum, Cetacean Society International and the American Civil Liberties Union. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Friends Meetinghouse. He was the originator of the annual Moby Dick Marathon, at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
In 1997 he was awarded the New Bedford Standard-Times Man of the Year for Acushnet for his work both in town and regionally. On the occasion of his 86th birthday in 2005, by official resolution, the City of New Bedford offered Mr. Marks its sincerest congratulations in recognition of his years of leadership and volunteer service on behalf of New Bedford history and in particular, for the establishment of the Moby Dick Marathon.
He leaves his wife Cynthia, a son, David J. Marks of Trappe, Pennsylvania, three daughters; Elizabeth B. Marks of Sydney, Australia; Rebecca L. Marks, Esq., of Jamaica Plain, and her husband Alban Horcholle; Dr Esther S. Marks, O.D., of Lynbrook, N.Y. and her husband Dean Novelli; and two grandchildren, Leo D. Byron of Sydney and Katherine L. Novelli of Lynbrook.