Clarence Aaron Marquis (89) horse wrangler, champion pie eater, meandering driver, and friend to all, passed away Friday, May 12th. He leaves a legacy of love across generations, and a demonstration of true community, generously giving of his time to anyone who needed a hand.
Born to James and Ethel Marquis on March 16th, 1934, Clarence and his four siblings, Ken, Kathleen, Kermit, and Cliff (all deceased) were raised on the family farm in Freeville, NY. After graduating from Dryden High School in 1952 he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956 at Parris Island, South Carolina. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and served as company clerk, where he put his horse-trading skills to work. Clarence told many stories of driving around in his jeep to obtain whatever was needed on base, often acquiring items for the sole purpose of a future trade.
He met Dorothy (deceased) in church choir at the Freeville Methodist church – which is pretty amazing, considering he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. She affectionately named him Mark for Marquis and when they married on June 29th, 1963, Clarence gained not only a wife, but an instant family of three children. Never was the word step-father heard as he cherished the kids as if his own. He had endless love (and patience) for Dotty and she remained his queen until her last breath.
He had a life-long love affair with dilly beans, cake, cookies, seafood and pie. Clarence declared all food was still “good” to eat, no matter how thick the mold may be, and was the original author of the five second rule. “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.”
After working for Cargill Salt, Clarence found a way to farm without farming hours. He worked for Cornell University for over 30 years, starting at the dairy barn, and finished his career managing the Equine Research Park. He made lifelong friendships with the vet students who worked for him, retiring in 1989. Not content to just kick his feet up; he went back to work doing what he enjoyed - house repair and construction, as well as harvesting maple syrup each spring with his brother Kerm. The sight of him roaming the roads in his latest truck on his way to fix something for someone will remain in Freeville for generations to come. With Dotty, he enjoyed cruises to various parts of the world, including Europe the Caribbean.
He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth (husband Bill) and their daughters Molly Webster (husband Dan Curbelo Zeidman and baby Rosie), and Emma Webster (partner Erin Jenkins-Vigil), his son Stephen Edgar (daughter Kristi Edgar), and son Michael (wife Stephanie) Edgar and his son Aaron Edgar.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 18 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and funeral services will begin at 10:00 am on Friday, May 19, both events to be held at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 West Main Street, Dryden, NY 13053.
Clarence was a wonderful Husband, Father, and Friend. The world will not soon see his like again.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Clarence A. Marquis, please visit our floral store.