The Story of Marjorie's Hope

I chose the name of Marjorie's Hope in memory of my younger sister, Marjorie who was killed by a 17 year old drunk driver in Tallahassee on August 5th, 1996. She died one week past her 33rd birthday. Marjorie was a single mother and left behind two children, Andrea age 11 and Robert age 12. Marjorie had a zest for life that many of us adults would love to recapture. She adored her children and loved volunteering where ever her children were involved. She was the first parent to sign up to chaperon and loved riding on the bus as a classroom volunteer. Generally, she would be seated in the back of the bus (with the kids) leading the songs of the bus. Her favorite school activity was to be involved for the school's annual field day events. She was the first parent to line up with the kids for a game of tug of war against the teachers and generally the last person to cross the finish line in the burlap sack races. She relished in delight with her teammates of students in the tug of war win against the faculty. On any given day, you could find her in the front office signing kids into school who were running late, selling popcorn after school or helping a classroom teacher. Marjorie loved teachers and loved children.

Marjorie loved her family and loved God more. She had the uncanny ability to lead teens to Christ. Each week she would attend church, she would have a group of teens in the back of her pick up truck. The same teens the church members had been reaching out to for years, without success. Yet, each week Marjorie's pick up truck would be loaded with teens of all ages, all genders and all races. She would travel to private homes, mobile home parks and homeless communities to pick up the teens and bring to church. I remember the minister who traveled from Tallahassee to Pinellas County to deliver Marjorie's Eulogy. He stated, Marjorie would bring teens to church who had tattoo's and body piercings in places we never knew the body could be pierced or tattooed. Personal appearances never bothered my sister, what mattered the most, was: what was in their hearts. Ironically, the boy that killed my sister, was the same type kid my sister would reach out to bring to church.

When ever a situation was related to Marjorie's children or others in need, Marjorie had the roar of a lion, but the heart of a kitten. She also had a sense of humor that is still missed to this day. Some of our fondest memories of Marjorie's extemporaneous moments and skills are when the Motown song "Stop in the Name of Love" came on the radio late one night. Marjorie stopped the car, got out and proceeded to expose' her song and dance performance with all the hand and body gestures included and sang the song in its entirety in the darkness of the night in front of the headlights of the car, on the side of the road; with motorist carefully driving past. One of my last visits with my sister was on the side lines of my daughter's soccer game. Marjorie arrived to the game with plastic microphones purchased from the Dollar Store. She brought one for each of the sisters. Together in unison, while my daughter played her game, with microphones in hand and with a kick in our steps, Marjorie led us all in the Pointer's Sisters song: "All My Sisters and Me". We truly were the side show entertainment and according to my sister, the distraction to the opposing team. I am aways amazed after a passing thought of my sister, the timing and coincidence of hearing on the radio.... "All My Sisters and Me". Perhaps her way of sending messages; whose to know???? I remember one evening while driving down US 19, I passed a deputy on duty. Marjorie proceeded to flirt with the deputy as we passed his slow moving vehicle and while stopped at a few traffic lights. I was pulled over for a tail light violation. I received a ticket and Marjorie received the exchange of phone numbers and a date with the deputy.

Because we were raised in a family who believed in giving back to the Community in which we live, we were introduced at very early ages to Lion's, Kiwanis, Sertoma's, Toys for Tots, etc. Marjorie always gravitated to the events that involved helping children. When Marjorie was young, she was skilled in horse back riding. I have no doubt that was the reason her favorite Saturday morning event was volunteering with Horses for Handicapped.

There are no words that can ever describe what it is like to lose a sister in a sudden death situation; other than to say, the event changes you forever. Once you love, the love never stops; you love forever. Once they are gone, you never forget; as she remains in my heart everyday. The children that Marjorie's Hope assist each year with backpacks and other donations are exactly the same children my sister reached out during her life time.  Rather than memorialize my sister's departure, we have opted to celebrate her life via Marjorie's Hope!

Last, I am proud to announce that both of Marjorie's children, Robert and Andrea are amazing individuals and are annual volunteers in all events. Robert and Andrea are both on the Board of Directors for the Not for Profit 501(c)(3) Corporation.

Since my sister Marjorie loved music and loved to sing, we carry her memory via gifts from the heart. When you give from the heart, the soul will sing!


Debi Shackowsky

"Everyday is a Gift"