Marlene Joan (Socko) Ross, 83, of New Cumberland, danced into heaven on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. She joins her husband, Thomas Joseph Ross, brothers William and John Socko, parents Bronislawa and George Socko, and grandson, Ross. Many thanks to her home care professionals, who are wonderful. Through the last years, it was lovely to see real affection growing between Marlene and her Hospital & Home staff. Their attentiveness matched Marlene's calm toughness.
Marlene was born in Shamokin, PA, where she also married her dashing baritone artist, Tom. She was a phone operator at Bell, Philadelphia, then a legal secretary at the Federal Building, Harrisburg.
Marlene had five kids in seven years, yet made each feel special. She used her creativity to make clothes we actually wanted to wear and birthday cakes that were (almost) too beautiful and personal to eat. She showed us patience, love, fairness, and respect for all. She and Tom made music and laughter central to our lives. Some of us played basketball, just like our inspiring mom.
After raising kids, she pursued her dreams of travel, education, and writing. She was secretary at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Harrisburg, joining the choir. The choir was later invited to Rome to sing for the Pope--Brava, Marlene! She designed flower arrangements with Stephenson’s Flowers, Shiremanstown, where she made lifelong Balderdash friends. She became a travel agent while working at AAA in Camp Hill, PA, then worked at All Seasons Travel, Mechanicsburg. She travelled to Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Mexico, the Caribbean, Russia, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii. Marlene took college courses in psychology and creative writing. She joined the local Write On group. She was voted leader for over 20 years. Marlene’s short story, “Betsy’s Delight”, was published and feted with a book signing. Naturally, her circle of friends expanded. Hello, Red Hatters and Tai Chi Chicks!
The past seven years were challenging for Marlene, after she lost her husband, grandson, and nephew, Sean, in 2014. Her health was never quite the same after that. However, she was determined to keep going. This coal miner’s daughter showed so much grit that doctors didn’t even realize she had a fractured leg during covid. She worked hard to recover after knee replacement, despite other setbacks. Through it all, she kept her sense of humor. She thought up the name “Grandmarlene” for her grandchildren - we called her “Grambo” after that knee replacement.
To every niece, nephew, in-law (or outlaw, as Marlene would say), & to your children: Marlene loved you all, & enjoyed hearing about you. Your prayers, rosaries, & novenas blessed us beyond measure.
Big thanks to our neighbors & friends, for your concern & deeds of kindness.
She’s survived by her children, Lynn Ross (Dan Riordan, children Sam, Isy, Ava), of Red Bank, NJ, Thomas M. Ross of New Cumberland, Lorraine J. Cowman of Carlisle (children Kathleen, Peter Cowman), Kathryn M. Ross of New Cumberland, Kelly A Ross of New Cumberland; and dear sister, Sylvia Dunn of Coal Twp., PA.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 am on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in St. Theresa Catholic Church, 1300 Bridge St. New Cumberland, where she was a long-time member. Burial will be in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, PA. There will be no viewing or visitation.
With current circumstances, please don't feel obligated to attend. A personal offering of Peace will bring comfort. In lieu of flowers, rejoice!