Marilyn Peterson Gerrish, a longtime Rye resident and well-known figure around town, died peacefully on January 23, 2024, at The Osborn in Rye, shortly after her 98th birthday. She was born on January 5, 1926 in Vienna, Austria, where her father, N. Vern Peterson, was studying medicine. Together with her mother, Ivy Magleby Peterson, the family soon returned to the United States to rejoin her older sisters, Marva and Lucile.
Marilyn attended Rye Country Day School from which she graduated in 1942. She went on to Wellesley College, graduating in 1946. Following in the footsteps of her older sisters, she was a standout athlete at both Rye Country Day and Wellesley, as well as President of the Wellesley Athletic Association. Her father was a much-loved physician at the former United Hospital in Port Chester.
After college, she returned to Rye and married another Rye native, Thornton (Gub) Gerrish in 1948. The young couple settled in Rye and had three children: Merrily, Campbell and Haden.
As a young mother, Marilyn continued her athletic prowess at golf and paddle tennis at the Apawamis and Manursing Island Clubs. Often a winner, Marilyn achieved many golf and paddle tennis honors including the ladies golf championship title at Apawamis in 1963. Because of her avid support of Apawamis sports, a division of the Briggs Cup squash tournament is named in her honor.
When Marilyn lost her husband in 1984, she took over his part-time photography business. With little knowledge of photography, Marilyn nonetheless began taking on assignments for Christmas card photos, Apawamis sports photos and weddings. Her charm made up for her lack of photography skills and over time, she became an accomplished photographer in her own right.
Combining her love of golf with her new found love of photography, Marilyn became the official photographer for the prestigious United States Seniors Golf Association annual championships, following in her husband’s footsteps.
Marilyn was predeceased by her husband, Thornton Gerrish, and her two sisters, Marva Peterson Shearer and Lucile Peterson Young. She is survived by her three children, Merrily Storm Gerrish, Campbell Thornton Gerrish (Janet), Haden Peterson Gerrish, five grandchildren, Campbell McNaughton Gerrish (Claire), James Montgomery (Monty) Gerrish (Hadley), Charlotte Gerrish Koster (Simon), Peterson Robert Meyjes and Willem Haden Gerrish and four great grandchildren, Kai Gerrish, Adelaide and Benjamin Koster, and Campbell Devon (Lulu) Gerrish.
Marilyn will be remembered as an outgoing “people person” with tremendous vitality. She was referred to as the unofficial “Mayor” of Rye because of all her lifelong friends in town.
A service of remembrance will be held at Christ’s Church, Rye, on Saturday, March 16th at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow at the Apawamis Club. Donations in her name may be made to The Osborn, Hospice of Westchester, or the Apawamis Foundation.