Drew Munro: Farewell, Marianne Klancke
Grand County, CO Colorado
Something is missing from this edition of the Sky-Hi News, something that has faithfully graced the Opinion pages of this publication and the Winter Park Manifest for longer than three decades.
Marianne Klancke’s last editorial cartoon appeared in the Friday, March 4, edition, the morning after she died in her sleep. Please consider the (empty print edition) cartoon box, bearing only Marianne’s “Corzine” signature, the editorial page version of the missing man formation.
As much as we at the Sky-Hi News will miss Marianne and her wonderful weekly wit and “Sense of Community” columns, we’re certain her parting will leave a far larger void in the Fraser Valley community she had called home since the early ’70s.
Her extraordinary legacy there speaks for itself. Whether they realize it or not, the lives of everyone who lives in the Fraser Valley – and many well beyond – are richer for the life Marianne Klancke lived with such zeal.
I learned about Marianne’s untimely death on Friday from a former colleague. It was one of those surreal moments when an event is so incongruous that it seems to float past in slow motion; if only you could reach out and grab it, you might be able to put it back where it belongs, and life would go on unchanged.
Then the moment was gone, and Marianne with it, improbable as it was. No doubt “The Talkshop Coach” would find a teaching moment in this. If there is one, it escapes me, other than the borderline trite: Never take life for granted.
I cannot claim credit for keeping Marianne on board after Swift Communications bought Grand County Newspapers. My predecessor owns that wisdom. Nor can I claim Marianne as a close personal friend, though I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and came to greatly appreciate her nonetheless.
We communicated primarily via email, with a phone call or personal meeting now and then to discuss a cartoon. After the one and only time I declined to run one of her pieces, we talked about it and agreed that I would always let her know beforehand if there was an issue with a cartoon and how we might fix it.
After she became aware of the myriad considerations in play in that particular instance, Marianne, in her matter of fact way, observed, “You have a hard job.” Well, so did she; she just made it seem easy.
We slightly altered a couple of her cartoons over the past few years, but the vast majority of them were pure Marianne, brimming with her sometimes mischievous sense of humor and wry insights. It was impossible to be anywhere near Marianne without falling under the spell of her infectious ebullience.
We will sorely miss the sense of discovery and anticipation each week opening her cartoons for the first time, or receiving her spontaneous comments in the emails accompanying them. A recent example: “Hey Drew. I have been warned not to go to Denver! The aftermath Spring Fever upon returning home is maddening. Just a little advice.”
The Sky-Hi News may someday find another cartoonist, but we will never replace Marianne. To borrow her usual email sign-off: BIG HUG, Marianne.
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