Marge was born as Judith Ann Binder on June 27th, 1947, to Mildred Binder and was put up for adoption. She believes that her father was the bookie from the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia PA. She was never supposed to have learned that she was adopted, but when she was a bit older looking for some important papers in her father's secretary, she came across the adoption papers, and asked her parents about that. It caused them much grief and they never confirmed it. Her adoptive parents Frank and Mary Pottolow –who raised her - did not want her initials to be JAP for fear that she would be teased by others in school since it was the end of World War II. So, they changed her name to Margaret Elaine Pottolow. Frank and Mary were sworn to secrecy when they adopted Marge; back then the court sealed those documents, and it would take a court order from Marge to find out who her parents were. She did start telephoning all of the Binders that she could find in the phone book and at one point when she called Mildred, she got an abrupt answer “why are you searching for that name.” Actually, she didn't think that her mother would still be alive, she was just looking for someone else in the family who could confirm her origin. She later got a lawyer to help her and he was able to find that Mildred was indeed her mother and that Marge also had a brother, however, her brother had been killed in an electrical accident. So, her mother was the only one left and Marge went to visit her. At this time Marge had been a clown and was surprised to see that her mother also loved clowns and had several of them in her apartment. What a coincidence! Marge was only able to visit her mother once or twice more before her mother passed away. Marge also heard that the man who was supposed to be her father, the bookie from Bridesburg, also had a summer job of riding the horse off the high dive at Steel Pier in Atlantic City.
At this point her future husband Rick asked some of her earlier acquaintances for information on her younger years.
From cousin Susan (Gizynski) Pacifico, “Margie graduated from St. John Cantuis Grade School in the Bridesburg area of Phila. 1961. Then attended High School at St. Hubert’s for Girls and graduated 1965. Cousin Susan has great memories of visiting Nurse Aunt Laura & Grandpop, on Lefevre Street, with Margie. Susan also talked of traveling in Bridesburg with Margie as kids to the Rec Pool, Candy Store, & Lashowicz‘s for groceries. Lashowicz’s was so convenient just right at the corner from Margie’s home. My uncle Frank - Margie’s Dad - was aways accommodating to take us kids at Christmas downtown to see Santa Claus, Thanksgiving Day Parade, or walks in Wissinoming or Pennypack Park. One more thing I remember every summer Margie’s Mom & Dad took her to Wildwood and stayed on East Maple Avenue close to board walk. One year I also went with my parents the same week as Margie. Stayed at the same place, I remember beach fun, fishing, rides on broad walk - it was a fun week!
Next, our friend Jeanne (Peteraf) Lockhart provided the following:
Marge and I met at St. Hubert's in our freshman year. We were in the same home room for four years, Peteraf and Pottolow! We also belonged to a few clubs together, but Marge was much more involved than me. She was always someone to emulate. She belonged to the Trinitarian Club and would go into North Philly to teach catechism. She also volunteered at St. Mary's hospital (note that was the original hospital in Philly – later Marge and Rick volunteered at St. Mary in Langhorne) and the (St.) Joseph House. Not sure if that's the right name. It was no surprise when she decided to join the Dominican Sisters in Elkins Park. She was a very giving person. I'm glad we maintained our friendship. It was a blessing.
Next our friend Ann Elkins (nickname Foxy) provided the following: I first met Marge at a seminar on child development. My friend and I were Big Sisters at the Good Shephard home for young girls (Tekakwitha) in Philadelphia. Marge was interested in our volunteer work there and decided to become a big sister. The home housed about 50 teens who were confined to Teky for various reasons. It was run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. We usually visited once a week to provide some companionship for the girls and take them on outings. We also had a small group who went to the Philadelphia youth detention center weekly to visit with the girls there. Marge and I both became involved with a catholic young singles social club (don’t remember if it had a name) (Epsilon Nu) where we met many new lifelong friends. You could always find us at the weekly dance. Every Sunday would find us at mass at the Medical Mission Sisters in Fox Chase and many a weekend we went on retreats at the Elkins Park retreat house run by the Dominican nuns. Our travels took us to the Jersey shore and once on a cruise to Bermuda. She did visit me once in Colorado. Marge’s goal in life was to make people laugh and that she did.
Next: It was during those early years that Marge met a Franciscan sister, Sr. Catherine Feuerstein who was like a mother to Marge. She has become a lifelong friend and Marge would call her infrequently when she needed someone to consult with - Marge had called her recently and sister is getting up in years and having a lot of health problems as well. We are indebted to sister Catherine for all the help she had provided Marge over the years.
Marge decided to join the Elkins Park Dominicans and became a novice sister although she was never fully professed and decided that it wasn't for her. Her husband Rick remembers many stories about her life at Elkins park and Media as well as some other places she worked as a novice nun. She was pretty feisty back then as she has been all her life. Stories such as wearing a broken plate or cup if she had dropped it, blowing up the oven when she got the recipe confused, sledding down the hill at Elkins park in the winter, arguing with Mother superior and walking away when Mother superior wanted to talk with her. . .
After leaving the convent Marge joined Epsilon Nu the Catholic singles club and became the social director of the group. It was there that she met her husband Rick and developed some lifelong friends, Jim & Nancy Gormley, Bill & Joan Finney, John & Beth Jastrzebski, Jim & Vicky Coyle. We also remained friends with Jeanne & Ron Lockhart, and got to know George & Helen Mullin through the Finney’s. Shortly after we had settled in to our new home, Joe & Diane Kowalewski moved in as our neighbors and also have become our lifelong friends. We have had several other friends over the years but these were our most significant.
The next most significant event in Margie's life was her marriage to me. Marge remembers meeting me at our annual Christmas dinner dance for the Catholic young adult club, (known as the CYAC’s). I was the VP of the group, she was with Walt Waslanco at the time and she thought I was a pretty jazzy guy, little did she know at that time that I would later be known as Mr. Sears Roebuck because my wardrobe was very plain. I remember meeting her for the first time when our club went to support their club, Epsilon Nu, at their square dance. I thought I was in trouble when I walked in the door at Saint Hilary's and she screamed out my name at the top of her lungs. Later that night I lost her while following her car to the Velvet lounge. After asking directions on how to get there I finally arrived and found that she had been driving all over looking for me. I suppose it was the first time in my life that I recall anyone caring so much that they would do something like that for me. Within a year we were engaged and married. So, we met in 1973, and were married September the 28th, 1974. We've had fights but making up is always better, our love lasted throughout! We had theme parties at our place, we both love to swim so we bought an above ground pool and had family and friends over all during the summer. Those were good times!
As you can most likely tell from all of the things that she has done before, Marge always was a spiritual person. So, we were continually searching for a church community that had good spirituality, I should say that Marge was always searching and I was more or less content with going to church on Sundays and holy days. I was not one to let Marge go on her own and joined her in her journey. Our initial church was Saint Thomas Aquinas in Croydon but there you could almost get run over after mass by the mad rush of people trying to get out of there.
So, we started searching for another community with spirit. We tried the following; Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Ephrem, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Michael the Archangel and Marge thought we would never find the community spirit we were looking for. But then we found Francis House of Prayer - sister Marcy Springer that restored some hope for Marge. We then found Daylesford Abbey and the charismatic group which were more dynamic but still not quite what we were looking for. The long drive out to Paoli was not good for Rick’s back. One of the marketing people at the place where both Marge and I worked at the time talked it over with his wife - they feared that Marge was losing her religion since she was considering going to Methodist or Baptist or some other form of Christian religion. They told Marge that they had heard about this church St. James in Pennington NJ, which was very active with many things to become involved in. We then sought them out and found what we were looking for, we became active in the RCIA program, Eucharistic ministers, adult education, Habitat for Humanity, and other activities. We stayed there for quite some time until Rick's back started giving him more troubles and we were not able to drive that far again. At that time, we also heard from some friends Joellen and Rob Worthman and found that Joellen was recently ordained a Catholic priest. So, we started attending St. Mary Magdalen Independent Catholic Church. And we became part of their community. After a while Marge did not feel everything was right there so we then joined Our Lady of Grace church in Penndel, we also became involved in the Crusillo movement - Spanish for little Christ. They were centered in Doylestown PA. We went to their Ultreya whenever we could and found that the people there were very spiritual. Marge and I also found we needed to communicate better on the feeling level and so we joined Marriage Encounter and were involved with that for several years. We were also involved in a couple of different Charismatic movements which enriched our lives tremendously. Somewhere Marge heard about clown ministry and also heard that there were sessions that we could attend to become clowns; we both did that but Marge was much more interested in it than I was so she got involved, developed a clown outfit and started going to clown meetings and other events. Eventually that led to her volunteering as a clown at Saint Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. I would drive her back and forth and get some exercise while she was clowning by just walking around the hospital, eventually I decided that I would also do some volunteer work but just ended up making phone calls and then eventually volunteering at the medical library doing computer work and other small tasks. The volunteers were all delightful people. We became very connected with them.
Another activity which Marge enjoyed that helped her to become closer to God was going on private retreats to a hermitage often at the Medical Missions Sisters, Peace Hermitage, but also at Nova Nada in the mountains of Colorado.
Marge worked many jobs: NBS, Brant, Franklin Woolen Mills, Alcohol & Drug Rehab Center, Roosevelt Cemetery, . . . Too many stories to list here!
Marge also had a short time in recovery, then prayed Rick into recovery and he stuck to it, but she never liked meetings. Marge lived a very full and a very spiritual life!
I miss her tremendously!
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Wednesday May 3rd at 10 A.M. in Our Lady of Grace Church, 225 Bellevue Ave., Penndel PA 19047. Her funeral Mass will begin 11 A.M. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Marge to the Medical Mission Sisters / Pearce Hermitage at MedicalMissionSisters.org would be appreciated by her family. Further info. may be found at www.slabinskifuneralhome.com