Marjorie Irene Heyduck: Columnist and Journalist
Dayton Journal Herald
October 7, 1969
Marj Heyduck, The Journal Herald’s nationally known columnist and a journalist since 1936, was found dead September 15 at her home hear Greenville in Darke County. Mrs. Heyduck, who was 56, was found by a neighbor, and died of coronary insufficiency.
Marj was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Evers of Dayton. She graduated from Stivers High School in 1931 and majored in journalism at Ohio State University.
Marj got her start in the newspaper business in the women’s department of the old Dayton Herald in 1936. Leaving that job, she worked for the Dayton Press, a weekly newspaper, and broadcast a daily human interest and woman’s feature program over WING radio from 1939 to 1941.
She rejoined the Herald as a general assignment reporter in 1943 and began her regular column which later gained fame as “Third and Main” a year later.
It was at that time that she began a feature column on wrestling for the Herald’s sports department. Tales of her escapades as a reporter covering wrestling matches in Southern Ohio entertained hundreds of women at regular “Tea With Marj” occasions throughout the Miami Valley.
Marj was named editor of the Herald’s Women’s Department in 1948 and became women’s editor of The Journal Herald when the two newspapers were merged in 1949.
She gave up her title as women’s editor in 1966 and was named assistant to the editor, an honorary title, but she continued her daily “Third and Main” column for The Journal Herald’s Modern Living section.
Marj was best known for her sense of humor and devotion to anecdotes. She spun her tales from the thin thread of the most common, everyday occurrences, embroidering them with a bit of fancy and securing them in a bright burst of hilarity.
Marj’s affairs with hats were almost as legendary as her anecdotes. She seldom appeared in public without a hat and made a great fuss over them at her teas and in her column. She also demanded whenever possible that the picture that ran with her column be changed daily, each day with a different hat – a practice that left Journal Herald photographers sometimes fearing for their sanity.
Marj’s journalism prizes were numerous and her reputation as a columnist was nationwide. She won more than 75 prizes over the years in annual contests of the Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association; she won a National Headliners Award in 1946; was given the best column in Ohio award by United Press International in 1963; and her women’s pages won first place in the University of Missouri’s Penney Award for Excellence in 1964.
Marj was a regular discussion leader at women’s editor seminars at the American Press Institute at Columbia University appearing there
23 times between 1952 and 1968. She also was invited to lead similar discussion for the Ottoway Papers and the Press Associations of California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
Marj married Emerson C. Heyduck, an insurance sales man and also a native Daytonian in 1934. Mr. Heyduck died in 1953. They had no children.
Charles T. Alexander, editor of The Journal Herald, had this to say of Marj: “She was as comfortable as home. She was as much a part of The Journal Herald as its masthead. The regard from all who knew her and read her column for her is inestimable. The depth of our personal loss is inestimable.”
Said James M. Cox Jr., chairman of the board of Dayton Newspapers, Inc.: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Marj Heyduck, Dayton’s best loved newspaperwoman.
“Her ‘Third and Main’ column brought good cheer and warm human sentiments daily for a quarter of a century. To thousands of Journal Herald readers, Marj was a welcome morning visitor. We share with them a feeling of great loss. Marj was truly an outstanding journalist, but even more a great lady.”
As a columnist, Marj traveled widely. Many of her columns were written from the scenes of national political conventions and inaugural balls where she found anecdotes and other material overlooked by thousands of other correspondents.
She also wrote her column from the decks of riverboats bound for New Orleans; from international fashion shows on New York’s Fifth Avenue, and from her stateroom aboard the SS Independence cruising in the Mediterranean.
But perhaps her best columns were written from tips and anecdotes exchanged over the phone with friends who called her regularly and strangers who overcame their awe and phoned nervously with a good story.
She also wrote frequently about her beloved Darke County and the small Ohio city of Greenville near her home at Wayne Lakes Park where she lived alone following her husband’s death.
Marj was a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, a Dayton Corps Trustee and a member of the Dayton Stivers Foundation.
Her three books, published by The Journal Herald, are The Best of Marj, published in 1962; The Anniversary Marj, 1964; and The Third Marj, 1966.
Marjorie Irene Heyduck died on September 15, 1969. She is located in Section 126 Lot 2. Unfortunately, no headstone was put in place for either her or her husband. The photo shows the area where Marj and Emerson are buried.
Woodland Cemetery, founded in 1841, is one of the nation’s oldest rural garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton, Ohio. Visit the cemetery and arboretum and take one of the many tours Woodland offers free of charge. Most of Dayton’s aviation heroes, inventors and business barons are buried at Woodland.
Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is located at 118 Woodland Avenue off of Brown Street near the University of Dayton Campus. The Woodland Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 8 am to 12 pm. The Cemetery and Arboretum are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and until 7 pm during Daylight Saving Time. The Mausoleum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 937-228-3221 or visit the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum website.