Honoring Majorye Savage-Heeney, Adventuress
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Who is Marjorye Savage Heeney?
One could could recite the mundane biographical litany—she was born in Harmon, Oklahoma, in 1926 but from then on, her history becomes anything but traditional.
Her parents—merchants, ranchers, farmers—also ran an Indian trading post where Marge began her lifelong interaction with people from a variety of backgrounds. Her community-minded family supported and encouraged their small town’s prosperity.
Marge, a one-time Miss Oklahoma City, graduated from Southwestern State College in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and earned her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma.
While teaching in Nebraska, she became engaged to a young law student, Barney Heeney. However, Marge wanted to sample some other adventures before manying, and they broke off their engagement. Those adventures included attending radio, television, and drama school in New York City, before moving back to Oklahoma where she taught for six years.
Eventually Barney tracked her down, and in 1956, they married and moved to Topeka. There Marge raised their four children and Barney practiced law. After their children were grown, Marge taught school as a substitute teacher until recently. She still delights in telling her stories to children of all ages.
Marge has a talent for seeing needs in the community and a passion for meeting them. She has helped children with their educational and cultural development. She’s a master of quietly recruiting others to fulfill needed tasks and of finding money to meet particular needs.
She and Barney lead well-balanced lives—they love to dance (and they take lessons) and they take an active interest in community events. They occasionally bring their scattered family members together for a vacation at some fun destination. They are active in local, state, and national politics. They don’t hesitate to embark on new adventures that contribute to human welfare. In 1990, they drove a truck to El Salvador on a mission sponsored by Pastors for Peace.
Marge makes it almost a crusade to express appreciation to people who give good service and do good deeds that often go unacknowledged.
Quite visible on the streets of downtown Topeka, Marge cares for the environment in small personal ways and chides (sometimes publicly) people who should be responsible for maintaining our public spaces. Even people who don’t know her name recognize Marge as “The Hat Lady.” She loves her collection of hats. Sometimes they closely resemble halos!
Anyone should be tickled pink—or blue, or red, or green—to receive one of the famous feathers Marge gives as a token of appreciation to the people she believes are special.