Remembering Marcus

Below are memories of Marc Rector that were given to his family ahead of the memorial service that was held on Saturday, April 1st, 2023 at The Cheese School of San Francisco.

Johannes Jacob Richter — later known as John Jacob Rector — left Siegen, Westphalia (now Germany) with his wife and first born child in 1713 to become an indentured worker in the first colonial iron mine in North America. He was a metalworker in Siegen, as were his forefathers, many of whom lived in “Truppbach,” a town across the river from Siegen that translates to “army town.” For generations he and his fore bearers worked to support the local feudal lords fighting for territory and religion in Northern Europe.

Later that century, Mary Tiffin Rector brought her children to the Ohio Territory, one of whom was named “John Rector”. One of Mary’s grandsons, Marcus Clay Rector, joined the Union Army during the Civil War. He likely faced many of his cousins who fought in the Virginia CSA cavalry and militias. His son, Marcus Clay Jr., was the formidable grandfather of my John Marcus Rector that Marc remembered visiting, along with grandma Libbie, in West Jefferson, for large family get togethers: Marcus and Libbie had nine children themselves.

Our patronymic family has a long relationship with the military, through at least seven centuries, including the US Navy which gave John Marcus Rector the opportunity to be the first in his family to graduate from a university. It also gave him the opportunity to leave Ohio and see the world, for which he was always grateful. He always spoke fondly of his time as a communications officer on two destroyers, one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic. This indirectly lead to my own first European tour, inside my Mom who was pregnant with me when she joined a group of Navy wives following their husbands around Europe in the spring of 1964. Thank you Mom and Dad! I still remember my first taste of live baby eels fried tableside in Spain…true story, ask Carol about that sometime.


Marcus, he drew a line around our hearts

and drew us to his home.

He shared his thoughts like hors d’oevres

to feed his passion to be known.

His ghost shall be good at craps.

His cheers scared the cats from his lap.

He sang, when the feeling found him,

and he laughed in every language.

He was the wine and football man

and because of that, still is.

No beauty ever dissappears.

He didn’t die, he lived

entirely on his own terms.

Marcus, our Bacchus,

he took his time, which took his turn;

he was so easy to remember,

like some song you can’t unlearn.

–Brian, after the stylings of cowboy poet Charles J. Quarto, frequent collaborator with Jerry Jeff Walker



I have always felt lucky with the family I was dealt. Even though I knew no father in my life, I had a special Mom and 3 big brothers who thought the world of me, and treated me accordingly. KUDOS to Marc, Wendell (Toby), and Tom.

A strong memory of my childhood was that Martha cried all the way to the airport driving Marc to his first Navy deployment, and then she cried for DAYS after he left. It was not much fun for me, I tell you.

Marc always had a strong presence in my world. Though we couldn’t be together too often, when we were it was quality. From summers in Roanoke, to visits in Boston, San Francisco, and Reno, I experienced a grand whirl of wonderful conversations, fantastic food and a deep connection with the entire family.

We know how to enjoy being together with Marc at the helm. My respect for Marc and all that he accomplished in his splendid lie, knows no bounds. His love of architecture, food, music, and entertaining is legendary in my mind!

So glasses up, a toast to my biggest brother Marc, whose memories will live in all of us.

–your baby sister Amy
Rectors in Scottsdale, AZ c.1979(?)

I mentally noted this last December on the shortest night of the year, Marcus would remind us with a photo.

Of course when Marc and Carol left SF, both John and I were very sad, we had nowhere to go to watch the Super Bowl.  Your super bowl party was the best!  If you loved the game your comrades were there, and for people like me no interest at all in football, there were very interesting people to talk with, not about football.

Segueing into Marc’s bookstore.  Great staff that would come to the super bowl party as well.

I absolutely loved his bookstore, can’t remember the name.  I would bring friends and out of towners, just to browse because he had much more than tech books for architects and engineers.  Huge number of cookbooks, (duh),  And Tchotchke’s all around, great for little gifts.  That’s where I discovered Taxi Wallets!


Growing up, my parents were probably on average 10 years older than my peers’ parents. Those 10 years made a huge difference because my parents were children of immigrants and children of the Depression. Parents who socialized and listened to contemporary music seemed like another species to me. Marc introduced me to Joe Jackson. And the whole food thing at your house was another revelation. What I recall, and what impressed me, was the sense of adventure present in your household. Marc worked in Israel. Marc and Carol cooked elaborate meals. They allowed (did they know?) you to host an epic cast party and when my Police record got ruined, Marc stood in line to buy tickets so we could go to the Police concert which was amazing. Marc and Carol moved to San Francisco and both had impressive careers. They continued to explore, and cook elaborate meals. Marc ran a bookstore. They participated in culture, and lived to the fullest. They relocated to Reno. They continued to take risks and live with gusto.

I treasure my time with the Rector family and thank you for including me, and for continuing to inspire me to seize the day and eat something delicious…Your dad was colorful and not afraid.


I have  many wonderful memories of Marc , but the very special ones are those associated with the work at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  Marc was most often seen walking around with Ben and Jane Thompson.  Marc was always taking notes with Ben and Jane talking away. I never knew how he could keep up with them since they did not seem to have any order to what they were doing or saying, but it was Marc’s special talent that he could not only write down their conversations, but then he could translate them into architecture. It was as an amazing feat, and if not for Marc, I do not think the project would have ever happened.  

Since I was such a novice and knew practically nothing about this process, the art, the science, Marc became my mentor and teacher.  It was my job to publicize and work with the press and to make The Rouse Company, the developer, look like the best new thing since sliced bread.  I had been given the job  to make the project a BIG hit…I was given  6 months to do so.  If it had not been for Marc, I could not have done it.  He was able to explain anything and everything in a manner that was at once coherent and yet entertaining at the same time.  What a great guy!

–Carol T.
panoramic photo of Quincy Marketplace by LGagnon shared under

The day we moved in to 44 Harrison a sharp looking car came zooming down toward the dead end, and pulled into the driveway next to ours.  That was my soon-to-be good friend Marc introducing himself.  Here are some of the descriptors that come to mind when I think of our friendship over the next 10 years.  He cut a sharp figure.  Was self-assured (opinionated?), jovial, outgoing and as you have already read, gastronomically adventurous.  His reactions to plays and calls during televised sports events were unrestrained and clearly audible down the whole block.

Two stories; the first demonstrates all the above characteristics.  The second shows another side altogether. 

The town of Newton Highlands determined to have a 5k road race as part of a village festival and residents were charged with putting together special teams with a name which would be emblazoned on the participants’ specially ordered T shirts.  Marc and I each had an idea that we thought was first rate, and our discussion began as a teasing interplay and moved to a testy exchange to a full -fledged argument.  Marc: “It can ONLY be The Harrison Street Harriers!”  Katy: “That’s so obvious; how much more subtle and witty would be The Harrison Street Harbingers?”  I’m chagrined to report now, so many years later, that I prevailed. My debating skills got a good workout.

The second story: very shortly after my marriage ended I put the kids to bed and went out to sit on the front porch feeling stunned, numb, scared; all of the above.  Marc came over and sat down next to me.  He didn’t put his arm about me or even say a word.  Just sat there for about a half hour, somehow knowing that the silent presence of another human being (didn’t hurt that it was male) was enormously comforting.


Living next to Marc from age 4 to about 14 was an education for me in Living Large.  Marc was louder, more openly expressive, happier, sometimes angrier (and did I mention louder?) than anyone I had met before.  His was a magnetic personality –- I felt like I was always watching in wonder to see what Marc would do next!  It was at Marc and Carol’s that I first experienced guacamole (yuck), lobsters (terrifying) magnums of champagne (as large as me!), and many other delicacies that I was sadly too young to fully appreciate.  I found Marc intimidating as a kid – but as I’ve grown older I have come to admire so much the intensity of his emotions and his ability to offer and enjoy good food, beautiful things, and most of all good company.


I remember hearing Joe Jackson for the first time during a dinner party when kids and adults mingled together.  And now whenever I hear Sunday Papers I think of the Rector’s living room.

I too remember being amazed when Marc grilled (LIVE) lobsters and had to cut them in half before cooking!

And finally Marc was the one who introduced me to college football.  I remember asking how the betting was going and waiting to hear which last placed player had to eat the plain spaghetti at the end of the season.


“of a woman with whom I’ve lived most of my life (and that’s a long time!), otherwise I think I’m getting along just fine. As you know, I enjoy cooking and I haven’t succumbed to the prepared food syndrome. And work takes up most of my waking hours and I like the work and the people very much.

Living in a foreign country is also new. And this is, very much, a foreign country. I’ve lived here long enough that the excitement and stimulation of simply living here have worn off, but Jerusalem is still exciting and stimulating. As I learn more about the city — and I have expanded my territory by buying a bicycle and learning to ride the buses — I find that there is more to know. There are still many things I want to do in the exploratory sense. (But that’s still true of Boston, as well.)

So how did I feel? Happy to be going back to a place of richness and history and to a work situation where I am looked upon to lead and make hard problems easier. Sad to be leaving Carol and Eric and Alison and Brian; all of whom I love deeply and like and enjoy being with. Stimulated by the work and the country and its people — all of them — Jews and Arabs and those few goyem like me. Apprehensive because it is all new and untried in a large sense — the work and the living.

Thus far it is good and I look forward to it remaining so, but I look forward to the day when someone I can hug and say hello to and laugh with comes back into my life, even for a brief period.

You mention your cooking. I think the tendency to do big pots of things and special things is more because of Carol than Eric’s capacity. I experienced the same thing. Carol gets there first and does it so well, why bother on the day-to-day stuff. You kind of have to make an appointment to cook dinner…

…I don’t miss being there to rake leaves. I love the tree and its presence and all of its colors from the bright light green of early spring to the deep green of summer and the yellow orange of fall to the brown black starkness interspersed with the white frosting of winter — but I guess one must pay with the raking of its leaves…

I’m glad you get to visit NC and Reynolds. And I’m very glad he got to know you. Eric has this way of keeping you his own secret. I know I waited so long to finally meet this Alison person. And finally it was worth the wait. I’m sure Reynolds feels the same, perhaps in a different way. The undertones of his book (life) imply that one must wholly dedicate onesself to the art of writing at the expense of all else. And who can argue with his personal accomplishments. But each must determine his own balance of art and life and well being.

I like reyonlds and his art very much. I will always treasure an evening — a long evening reaching into the morning — of conversation with him the first time I visited Eric there, alone. When I visited again with Carol, it was cordial, but very different.

There are so many things. I want to learn and know more about your parents and family. I have immensely enjoyed each encounter, but it’s always been whoosh whoosh

And I worry about 48 Harrison without a Christmas tree. Will you and E be there?

And I’ve reached the end of this page! Love/Marc

–read by Alison at the Memorial

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