The first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of her husband, Joseph Marion, Rosa Marion said recently: “Just how much I miss him.”
Joe Marion, a longtime Central Islip resident and community leader whose nickname was “Poppa Duck,” was the kind of man “who could talk to anyone,” said his wife of 32 years. “Everywhere he went he would see somebody he knew from years ago.”
He was “the best storyteller,” said his daughter, Della Sutton, a Brentwood resident. “He was the best father ever. He loved barbecues, get-togethers. He loved his family — especially his wife. He would bring her flowers just because. He was just an all-around great guy.”
Marion, a father of five and grandfather of six, died April 14 due to complications from COVID-19, according to his family, after getting treatment for a foot infection. He was 72.
Marion was born in Louisville, Georgia, one of nine children of Brinnie and Willie Marion. He worked as an aide at Pilgrim State Hospital for 25 years and then for the Suffolk County Transit bus company for another 20.
Marion was well known as the senior adviser on the board of Wyandanchday.org, which organizes “Wyandanch Family & Recognition Day” — or simply “Wyandanch Day,” as it’s known in the community. It is held on the second Saturday in June. This year’s in-person event and parade was canceled for the first time in 52 years because of the pandemic and was replaced with an online celebration.
“It’s a first for a lot of things this year,” Rosa Marion said. “As big a man as he is, his heart and his commitment to that program, he’s somebody that’s going to be missed. And not just by my family.”
In addition to his wife, Rosa, and daughter Della, Marion is also survived by his children Andrew Marion of Central Islip, Willie Marion of Huntington Station, Debbie Arroyo of Coram, and Daisy Marion of Brentwood; his siblings Quillar Marion of Newburgh, New York; Jean Kimpson and Bernice Marion, both of Bay Shore; Yvonne Washington of Brentwood; and Winston Marion, Sue Fox and Kate Marion, all of Fayetteville, North Carolina; and six grandchildren.
The family hopes to hold a memorial service at a later date.