Marjorie M. Fister (neé Bonello), formerly of Oceanport, died June 25 in the Bronx at Hudson Pointe Nursing Home, having resided in that Bronx facility since 2015. Her death was announced by her guardian, Paul Mederos, Esq., of New York.
After Super Storm Sandy, Marjorie moved to New York to live with her daughter, Ellen Fister-Oxman; her home in Oceanport was sold in 2016.
Marjorie was born May 5, 1921 at what is now Monmouth Medical Center, the first in her family to be born in a hospital. For years she was part of the Lenna Conrow Auxiliary, raising funds for the hospital and volunteering for the Deborah Hospital, for those suffering from heart disease. She is the daughter of the late Leon Bonello, who ran for mayor of Long Branch, and his wife, Eleanor Genevieve Bonello (neé Brasch). Marjorie spent much of her youth on the family farm, Broadmeadow, on Nutswamp Road in Middletown where her mother’s family farmed for generations, raising corn mash shipped to Kentucky for bourbon. It was one of the first mechanized farms in New Jersey and there that Marjorie had her wedding reception, having married Edward John Fister Sept. 9, 1944, at Star of the Sea Church, Long Branch, where Frank Sinatra was a summer attendee. The Sinatras summered in Long Branch, as Marjorie liked to tell, and she knew him as a teen.
Marjorie, accepted at NYU, instead attended Newark (NJ) State Teachers College, now Kean University, for two years.
In 1941 she left college to join the war effort at Fort Monmouth. There she worked with Garson Kanin, the actor, director and playwright. Kanin was the youngest director in Hollywood at the time. During his last RKO project, the Ginger Rogers comedy “Tom, Dick and Harry,” Kanin was drafted into the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth. Marjorie, who resembled Ingrid Bergman, appeared on several “Uncle Sam Wants You” posters and was offered a job as a script girl in Hollywood. She turned it down to remain in Monmouth County.
Marjorie’s husband Edward was the chief civilian scientist for the Signal Corps but they formally met at Star of the Sea Church.
Marjorie was on the board of the Monmouth Symphony League, a member of several local garden clubs, a ranked bridge player, ran the League of Women Voters for the state of New Jersey and was among the first female licensed real estate brokers in New Jersey, beginning her career with the late William Fletcher.
Marjorie was a lifelong painter, working in several mediums, including pastel, oil, marble carving and her best medium, as a water colorist, for which she won many prizes. She taught at the Art League in Red Bank and was in many shows in the tri-state area, including the Pen and Brush and the Salmagundi in New York. She traveled the world to paint in Giverny, France and Mykonos, Greece and traveled a great deal for pleasure with her husband and their close friends from the Pentagon, Fort Monmouth and Camp Evans, Charles and Kathy Schultes.
In 1950 Marjorie’s husband traveled to England to work on “Operation Paperclip,” in which Marjorie played a part. After touring the destruction in England, including graphic images she described of Coventry, she went, at the request of government services, to Cherbourg, France to help with the repatriation of those released from prisoner of war camps. Her name and Long Branch address can be found on the manifest of the Queen Mary, along with her passport number, how many pieces of luggage she had and that she was 28 upon arrival and 29 upon return, having spent nearly six weeks doing important work for the war efforts related to the Marshall Plan.
Marjorie was predeceased by her husband, Edward John Fister. She was also predeceased by her firstborn, a son, Brian, and her younger sibling, Audrey.
She is survived by her son, Kevin E. Fister, daughter Ellen Fister-Oxman, six grandchildren and numerous relatives.
A lifelong dog lover, every dog she permitted into the family home had to be named after a general. Donations in her name may be made to k9sforwarriors.org.
Letters of condolence may be sent to Ellen Fister, 1100 Park Ave. 6D, New York, NY 10128.
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