Rebecca Marcus Headshot

WOUB Member Spotlight: Rebecca Marcus

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Marcus has been a member of WOUB since 1999

ATHENS, OH – Rebecca Marcus moved to Athens, Ohio when she was just five years old. She has lived overseas and explored other places but returned to Athens in 1989 and has been there ever since.

“My father was the first Chinese professor at Ohio University,” said Marcus. “When I was a child, my mom would have WOUB radio on. We listened to classical music, news and radio plays.”

Marcus graduated from Athens High School in 1970 and was ready to explore the world outside of Athens.

“It was then when I started world roaming,” said Marcus with a laugh. “I wanted to go to university, but I wanted to go far enough away that my parents weren’t going to visit every week but close enough to go home on the holidays.”

Marcus ended up going to Kent State University the year after the Ohio National Guard shootings. “I attended the memorial service for the students who died in 1970 each year that I was a student there, and I watched the grieving process of those who survived go from expressing feelings of forgiveness to feelings of anger.”

Marcus graduated in three years with a degree in social work. She went to work at a health clinic in Philadelphia where she realized that she really wanted to be a nurse.

“My mother and the social milieu at the time were not okay with the idea of me going to nursing school,” said Marcus. “In those days nurses were thought of as women in white hats simply following doctor’s orders with no professional and decision-making skills of their own.”

Marcus went to Columbia University to study nursing and instantly knew that she had made the right decision. “My first day in class, I felt like I had electricity going up and down my spine because I knew I was in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”

After completing nursing school and gaining hospital experience in New York City, Marcus moved to Finland to marry her long-time, snail mail pen pal Erkki. They lived in Finland for 18 years and adopted two toddler children from Russia. In 1989, they moved back to the United States due to a recession and settled in Athens.

“When we came back, I worked in home health care, which I loved, and finished my master’s in nursing from Turku University in Finland, as a clinical nurse specialist in gerontology.”

Marcus also studied psychology at Ohio University and worked at Marietta Memorial Hospital in the geriatric psychiatric unit. She officially retired from nursing in 2019.

“Helping people through their health care issues was and still is my gift, calling and profession,” said Marcus. “At this time, I’m enjoying my retirement but am searching for ways to continue to use my nursing skills.”

Besides swing dancing, one of her other favorite pastimes is engaging with public media.

“On the radio, I listen to programs like the news, Science Friday and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! On TV, Nova, Independent Lens, POV, Ken Burns documentaries and the murder mystery programs are the ones I watch the most,” said Marcus. “NPR, PBS and WOUB have information that is not available anywhere else. What I like is the high quality and diversity of the programming they produce and put on the air.”