Marjan Doscher, 64, Was Life Force of Her Family

Marjan Doscher, a resident of East Chop, died unexpectedly and without suffering on Oct. 18. She was 64.

Marjan Maria-Harriette VanMeeuwen Doscher was born a baroness on April 7, 1938, in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Her mother loved to tell the story of the day she was born: It was a rainy spring day, but when she was placed in the bassinet after her birth, the skies parted and the sun broke through to shine right on her such that the nurse ran over and closed the curtains. The sun she absorbed on the day she was born emanated throughout her life onto those she loved.

Marjan attended Catholic school in Heemstede, the Netherlands. Then she attended college at the Catholic University in Paris. She went on to work briefly as a model in her early twenties, but ultimately worked as a doctor's assistant in Amsterdam.

Marjan came to the United States in 1962 at the age of 24 to work as a dinner party coordinator and babysitter for a diplomat. That fateful summer she met William (Bill) Grant Doscher at the Larchmont (N.Y.) Beach Club. They dated during her short stay here despite her engagement to a Dutch lawyer. When she left the U.S., Bill proposed to her. She said yes, much to the chagrin of her family, as Bill was a mere "American commoner." Marjan and William were married July 10, 1964. They spent most of their years raising their two children in Armonk, N.Y., where Marjan served on the public library board of directors from 1976 to 1994. Marjan's happiest memories from those early years involved family trips to Florida and Vermont and summers on Martha's Vineyard.

Ever since her first summer on the Vineyard 25 years ago, Marjan felt that the Vineyard was home and where she was meant to be. Consequently, in 1994, Marjan and William sold their home in New York and moved to the Vineyard permanently. She loved living here; she became a passionate painter, painting mostly doll furniture which she sold every year at the Labor Day Artisans' Fair. She even painted a floor-to-ceiling mural around her grandson's room complete with roads, beaches, dump trucks, airplanes, race cars and life-size trees. Marjan's other passion was dolls. She amassed an extensive collection, but received the most pleasure from repairing and improving used dolls and selling them every summer to little girls at the Chilmark flea market, where she became known as the Doll Lady. Marjan's other true passions were reading and taking long walks on the beach.

Marjan was more than a wife, mother and friend; she was a true angel on earth. She made everyone's life better, a blessing that elevated her to being the life force of her family. Wherever she went she brought her sunshine. Everyone she met was warmed by her kind heart and made to feel important. She was adored by her husband and her children, but by nobody more than the three grandsons who named her Ama. They always wanted to be with her because she would go bike riding, look at the stars or just play with them. Marjan loved her life, this Island and her family.

We could all follow a little of the advice on life she had once written: "Never lose your love for life. Live enthusiastically! When there are difficulties, learn from it; there is always a positive side to every negative. Don't forget to see the beauty of nature around you. Look at it. Don't be too busy to see the small terrific things in life."

Marjan Doscher will be deeply missed by her family and friends and will forever be remembered as the sunshine that touched the lives of those she loved.

Marjan is survived by her husband, Bill, of Oak Bluffs; her son, Dutch, of Stamford, Conn.; her daughter and son in law, Marilyn and Mick of Edgartown; grandsons Alexander, Nicholas and Zachary of Edgartown; brother and sister in law Frank and Jean of Belgium, and nephews Mark, Robin and Rory, along with three (and one on the way) grand-nieces and nephews, also of Belgium, as well as countless friends and loved ones here and in Europe.

A beautiful memorial service was held Oct. 22. Marjan would have wished that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to St. Jude's. We will all miss her so very much.