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Obituary for Marilyn Corinne Hajjar
On July 13, 2022, Marilyn Hajjar, loving mother and Cito (grandma) passed away at her home, surrounded by her family, while overlooking her secret garden. Marilyn was born on July 21, 1946, in Rochester New York to Leona Levinson and Albert Nandor Blitz. Marilyn received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and design and art education from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA in 1968. That year she traveled across the country in a VW bus with Mark Hajjar to start their bohemian life in the bay area; marrying later that year. Together they worked hard, began traveling, and raised two daughters, Amena and Bevin in their rustic “barn” on seven acres. Marilyn served as the director of Crestmont Elementary School where the girls attended while supporting Mark in his design/build business. In 1979 the family moved to Orinda where Marilyn taught life drawing at the Orinda Community Center for 32 years, worked as a graphic artist, and co-owned and operated Art Ability. Marilyn went on to travel the west coast as an art supply account manager.
After divorcing in 2003 Marilyn moved to Hiddenbrooke, a small community set in rolling hills, where she commuted daily to San Francisco to manage ARCH art supply store and later transitioned to the Executive Director for iAMart. Marilyn loved to draw, write, read, knit, cook, and garden. Hosting large parties was Marilyn’s specialty. Having grown up a chef’s daughter, she embraced the challenges of creating unique menus for each celebration. Proud of her worldly travels, Marilyn would quote the number of countries she traveled to regularly. Exploring over 80 countries, four in the last year of her life, she was truly a world traveler.
Marilyn became involved in Al-Anon during her divorce. Her 20-year dedication was reflected in the level of service she was committed to. She held numerous positions from Group Representative, Group Treasurer, Chair of the Executive Committee for NCWSA, and personal sponsor to over 20 members. She always gave special attention to anyone new to Al-Anon, sharing her strength and hope generously. Marilyn never turned away from the personal hard work of the program, even to the last day of her life - living life on life’s terms.
Marilyn’s true love was for animals. She would talk to any animal, and take their picture when traveling. Marilyn enjoyed volunteering at the Oakland Zoo for her “totem” animal, the elephant. She was proud of her three Otterhounds who she traveled with back and forth across the country to dog shows for over 13 years; most notably when invited to Westminster in 2016 with her beloved Gabel. Marilyn served on the Board of Directors for the Otterhound Club of America, an avid cheerleader for the breed.
Marilyn was known for her quick wit and generous sharing of knowledge and copious unsolicited opinions. To know her was a gift and to have been in her life was an honor.
Marilyn is survived by her half-sister Lila, her two daughters, Bevin and Amena, and their spouses Charlie and Kirk, and her three grandchildren, Charlie, Emma, and Wren, and her dog Gabel.
In lieu of flowers, Mom asked that donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital www.stjude.org or The Cancer Community 3276 McNutt Avenue Walnut Creek CA, 94597 www.cancersupportcommunity.org which gave her and us much support the last two years.