MARQUETTE, MI. - Marge Saari, DVM, was a Manhattan, New York veterinarian with Upper Midwest roots. She died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on August 4, 2013, four months shy of her 75th birthday.
She accepted death without regrets or complaints. Those who knew her during her six month unplanned stay at Mather Nursing Home in West Ishpeming in 2008, due to an infected hip replacement, will recall her cheerful demeanor and can-do spirit. For years she had been her own best health advocate, always anticipating the critical moments to take action. But a mild stroke paralyzed her right side in May, and the prospect of being immobile in a nursing home undermined her will to live.
Born the middle child of a German-American mother from central Wisconsin and a Finnish-American father from near Ironwood-Hurley, Marge grew up in a Milwaukee suburb, got higher education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (medical technology) and the University of California-Davis (doctorate in veterinary medicine), and in 1972 settled in New York City. For 25 years she worked as a small animal vet for the non-profit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, serving pet owners and their animals with compassion and skill.
Her passion already as a teenager in the 1950s was cocker spaniels. She owned many, showed some in competitions, and became the much loved national record keeper for the breed. For 60 years her monthly column on the top dogs and breeders was published in various cocker magazines. In 2011 the American Spaniel Club honored her with election to their Hall of Fame.
Friends she had in abundance, dogs and a cat only until she retired. Her Siamese cat Oliver was famous for insisting upon talking to Marge's friends on the phone. During her retirement she escaped her small cramped apartment in New York regularly to sail the world, and was especially enamored of the cruise liner Queen Elisabeth II.
Surviving are an older sister Jo Face of Taos, NM, a brother Jon (Christine) Saari of Marquette, a niece Jennifer Paulden of Taos, and two nephews, Alexander (Mary Jo) Saari of Auburn Hills, MI and Matias Saari of Anchorage, AK.
A memorial service was held in early September at the Lake Superior Zen Center in Marquette. A private family burial will take place in Wausau, WI in late September.