Marcia Lathrop

June 19, 1945 - December 25, 2021

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Marcia Kohlroser Lathrop: An Ordinary Life Well Lived

Marcia Ann Kohlroser Lathrop was born June 19, 1945, in Fargo North Dakota. Her parents, Ruth and Frank Kohlroser, lived across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota where Marcia grew up. Both parents were deaf, so American Sign Language was Marcia’s first language. Surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors she developed English as her second language early in life.

She attended the Moorhead Public Schools from where she graduated. She was raised Christian in the Bethesda Lutheran Church in Moorhead. In 1961 several members of her church participated in a summer Bible Camp at Long Lake in Detroit Lakes Minnesota. It was there she met Rick Lathrop, a participant from Elim Lutheran in Fargo. Rick fell in love with Marcia at first sight. Although Marcia’s first response to Rick was “what a jerk”, they began dating, later married and ended up spending the next 60 wonderful years together!

In order to put Rick through college and to raise their family, Marcia held a variety of jobs including Problems Resolution Officer with the IRS in Albany NY. Marcia always proudly pointed out that “Problems Resolutions” were the “good guys” in the IRS. Following the couples move to Lawton Oklahoma from Clifton Park, NY, Marcia was employed by the US Army in their “Army of the Future” at the Fort Sill Field Artillery School. Marcia and the Army were a strange match but it worked well.

It was at that point when Marcia realized her true calling was to be an ASL Interpreter for the Deaf and began her formal training. Following their relocation to the Chicago area she went on to earn an Associates Degree in ASL at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora Illinois. She spent more than 30 years as an interpreter, serving as a fierce and loyal advocate for the deaf. She deeply appreciated the connection interpreting gave her to the deaf world in which she grew up and became a way for her to share her gift and help others. She also relished the variety of interpreting assignments: from welding to atomic energy; from elementary special education classes to graduate studies; from interpreting for an order of priests to nearly every branch of medicine. She often went above and beyond. One of her most memorable assignments was interpreting a physical therapy session for a deaf client. The therapist had the patient lie face down on the therapy table with their face in the holster provided. In order to do her job, Marcia got down on the floor and interpreted the entire session to the client who was looking down at her from above.

Another joy in her life was listening to stories. She loved people’s stories and took them in with great pleasure. If you sat next to Marcia at a doctor’s appointment, or on an airplane, train or perhaps at a church gathering, Marcia would ask disarmingly open questions and soon she would learn “your story” and your name. She would listen intently with genuine interest. Then at an appropriate moment, days, weeks, or even years, later, she would re-tell your story so others could enjoy your story too. The gathering and re-telling of stories, was another means of using her interpreter skills. Marcia was the “original podcaster”, listening and re-telling rich stories of those she met. A plaque in her kitchen read “Bloom Where You Are Planted” which she instilled in her kids, along with the “Golden Rule” and she certainly lived her life that way.

Marcia was a major fan of Jeopardy from the 1970’s. She and Rick would record the program, watching it together later in the evening after her favorite Price is Right. She always enjoyed crosswords and, later in life Sudoku.

In 2005-2006 Marcia underwent dual stem cell transplants to treat her Multiple Myeloma. Those transplants gave her and Rick 16 good years to travel, also one of her other great joys. They were able to visit all 50 states and several foreign counties.

Marcia is survived by her husband Rick, their sons Christopher and Patrick, seven grandchildren, and a brand-new great grandchild Marcia was never able to meet. She was preceded in death by oldest son Jon in 2018.

Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to Suicide Prevention Services, a cause she was passionate about, or the Congregational Church of Batavia.

Guest Book

  • Cathy McQuillan Tom and I are so deeply sorry about Marcia's passing; although we are glad that she is now out of pain and whole again in heaven. What a wonderful woman she was! We treasure all of our times together! We thank God for her life. Our love and sympathy Rick and the whole family.
  • Karon C VanGelder An ordinary life well lived is extraordinary and a blessing to multiple generations! Thank you, Marcia!
  • David Anderson We will miss you very much. Dave & Mamata