Marilyn Dvorak Blatter, a wife, mother, grandmother, musician, and teacher, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of February 3, 2022, in Media, PA, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 77.
Marilyn was the second daughter of Leo J. Dvorak and Genevra Herwig Dvorak –professors at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Leo served as base band director stationed in Houston, TX, during WWII, where Marilyn was born on May 3, 1944. After the War, the family returned to Charleston where Marilyn studied piano, clarinet, and violin, winning many state-wide competitions on each instrument. She graduated from Charleston High School in 1962.
After finishing her BS in Music Education (piano) from the University of Illinois, Marilyn married fellow musician and educator Al Blatter. After a stint in Huntington, WV, they settled in Champaign-Urbana, IL. Together, they had 2 children: Kristine and Nicholas.
The family relocated to Media, PA in 1979, where Marilyn continued to teach piano lessons, volunteer at her children’s schools and with the Girl Scouts, and was active in The Country Gardeners, particularly enjoying entering arrangements into the Philadelphia Flower Show. As she had been in Huntington and Champaign-Urbana, once in Media, Marilyn continued to be active in PEO. Through her PEO connections, Marilyn and The Country Gardeners regularly contributed decorations to The Thomas Leiper House in Wallingford. Also through PEO, she soon began to participate as accompanist for The Young People's Theater Workshop (YPTW) through The Players’ Club of Swarthmore.
In 1982, Marilyn joined YPTW as musical director, and in 1985, she took over as program and musical director, and producer. Marilyn went on to produce more than 10 full-stage productions, and she soon became an irreplaceable friend, mentor, and second mother to countless students at YPTW. In c. 2002 Marilyn began volunteering as a clerk and docent at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
In 1991, she served as a Pennsylvania delegate to the PEO International Convention where she voted to create the PEO Scholar Award. A life-long musician, teacher, crafter, and gardener, Marilyn’s impact has been felt by countless students and friends across the country and around the world, and she will continue to touch generations of musicians and theater lovers for years to come.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her father, Leo (1964), her mother, Genevra (2005), and her sister, Patricia Shrader-Griffiths (2016). She is survived by her husband Al of Media, her daughter, Kristine (Mark Berglund, Alyssa and Sarah) of Denver, Colorado, and her son, Nicholas (Tricia DuBois, Jules and Alex DuBois, and Ethan and Aidan Blatter) of Portland, Oregon.
A memorial service is planned for later this spring. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Marilyn’s name to The Leo J. and Genevra Dvorak Memorial Scholarship at (Eastern Illinois University c/o Eastern Illinois Foundation, 600 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, IL 61920) or The PEO Scholar Award (https://donations.peointernational.org/peo-donation-psa).