yolo county red cross

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Marjory Tolbert

[Originally published July 22, 2015]

On occasion, we meet extraordinary people who grow more beautiful with each passing year. These vibrant and often quiet contributors to our community are treasures whose lives inspire others. Marjory Tolbert is such a sparkling gem.

An English major just shy of obtaining her Master's, Marjory shared her love of books with me. "Books are your best friends. They are always open-armed and ready to receive you." 

As a child, her family moved a lot. Marjory looked at it as a grand adventure. At an early age, her mother handed her the book, "Heidi," and told her to read it. When she had finished, she asked her mother what she should do. Her mother replied, "Read it again." And thus began Marjory's love affair with books. 

After four years of persistence on the part of Mr. Joseph Tolbert, a Captain in the United States Air Force, Marjory married the man. They had two sons, Ridge and Ned. Joseph flew in three wars--World War II, Korea and Vietnam. And, in 1969, the Tolberts moved to Davis. 

When I told Marjory that she was "zesty," she replied, "Well, what else are you going to do? I had to find ways to get along. You have to sustain yourself." And sustain herself she did. While Joseph was flying missions, Marjory got involved in theater, dancing, chorale, and writing for the BBC and other publications. She worked in the hospitals taking care of wounded soldiers. While they were stationed in England, she traveled extensively throughout Europe,Tangier, Majorca, Egypt and Greece with other Air Force wives.

"I couldn't stand being cooped up constantly. I had to get out, too. I inherited the spirit of adventure from my childhood. I always felt so privileged to get to do all these things," she said. 

Here in Davis, she has been an active member of the University Farm Circle, the Sweet Adelines, El Macero Republican Women (she introduced Nancy Reagan), a Crocker Art Museum docent, on the Yolo County Board of the Red Cross, Davis/Sacramento Symphony League, Davis Family Services, and a docent at the original Nut Tree ranch house...among many other things. 

"If you can't contribute, you shouldn't belong," said Marjory. "I've been very lucky. I've had a good life. I just feel grateful."

Marjory continues to stay interested and involved in the local color and culture. She takes Zumba and Jazzercise, plays bridge and bunko, attends Air Force events, partakes of the theater, and so much more. And, in case you're wondering, the photo up top is Marjory standing next to...Marjory. A friend of hers painted Marjory pin-up style. Marjory's spunk shines through. 

Marjory Tolbert, you've got gumption! Thank you for letting your light shine so brightly and bringing others great joy.