HRM Pays Tribute to Longtime Docent Marilyn Bender

The HRM honored the memory of longtime Docent Marilyn Bender, who passed away in January, by dedicating a late nineteenth-century painting by John Douglas, View of the Hudson Highlands with Woman Painting, in her honor.

On March 20, 2021, HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky spoke about Bender’s legacy and dedicated the Douglas painting during a small, socially distanced gathering in the Museum’s galleries.

“With the passing of Marilyn Bender, we lost a dear friend, an inquisitive and creative mind, and a strong advocate of the Museum,” said Turchinsky. “Marilyn had a calm and warming presence in her thirteen years as a docent. In my own experiences with Marilyn, I can attest to her quick wit as well. Whether she was working with school groups or assisting with projects that would directly affect present and future docents, Marilyn was always willing to lend a hand and go the extra mile.”

Bender’s husband, David, and son Roger, attended, along with a group of close friends and fellow docents. Bender served as a docent for nearly 14 years. She loved design and knitting and was known as a “super docent” who was instrumental in editing the updated Docent Manual. HRM staff and docents also shared their stories about Bender in a booklet of memories.

“Marilyn’s calm and steady presence was evident right away, and her scholarship and thoughtful attention to detail has been of great benefit to the Museum and the work we do with the public and with schools. Her contributions here will carry on into the future. I am grateful that I got to know her for a short time and will miss her,” stated Bridget McCormick, Manager, School Programs.

Docent Carole Gouaux recalled: “Marilyn was many things: a loving wife to David, mother to Roger and Douglas, and grandmother to little Mason. She was a wonderful friend, whose dry wit could always make me laugh, a super docent whose unassuming, quiet intelligence would bring out the best in her school groups, and a devoted member of the Hudson River Museum, which she loved with all her heart. Marilyn’s illness was sudden, her passing was sudden, but memories of her will remain with me forever, as they will with us all here at the Museum.”


Roger and David Bender next to the John Douglas painting, View of the Hudson Highlands with Woman Painting, late nineteenth century. Oil on canvas. Gift of Florence E. Kelley, 1988 (88.2.1).