Marilyn Gerrish

0:00 e resident of Rye, N.Y., and well-known figure around town, died peacefully on Jan. 23, 2024, at The Osborn, shortly after her 98th birthday.  […]

Published February 8, 2024 5:17 PM
2 min read


e resident of Rye, N.Y., and well-known figure around town, died peacefully on Jan. 23, 2024, at The Osborn, 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. Her father became a much-loved physician at United Hospital in Port Chester.

After graduating from Rye Country Day School in 1942, Marilyn went on to Wellesley College, where she was a member of the class of 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. 

After college, she returned to Rye and married another Rye native, Thornton (Gub) Gerrish, in 1948. The young couple settled in Rye, where they raised 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. She achieved many sports 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 the art, she nonetheless began taking on assignments for family Christmas cards, Apawamis sporting events, and weddings. Her charm made up for her lack of skills, and over time she became an accomplished photographer in her own right. She was a frequent contributor to The Rye Record. 

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.  

In addition to her husband, Thornton Gerrish, she was predeceased by her two sisters, Marva Peterson Shearer and Lucile Peterson Young. She is survived by her three children, Merrily Storm Gerrish, Campbell Thornton Gerrish (Janet), and 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.

She be remembered as an outgoing “people person” who possessed tremendous vitality. She was fondly known as the unofficial “Mayor” of Rye because of her countless lifelong friends in town. 

“Marilyn was a Rye enthusiast,” said her son Campbell. “Her ever-present smile lit up the community.”

A service of remembrance will be held at Christ’s Church in Rye on Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow at Apawamis Club.  

Donations in Marilyn Gerrish’s memory may be made to The Osborn, Hospice of Westchester, or the Apawamis Foundation.

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