Marcia Torrey-Jay

Marcia (Parady) Torrey-Jay of Idyllwild, Calif., formerly of Los Angeles, Calif., Philadelphia, Pa., and Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., passed away Aug. 27 in Idyllwild. She was 70.


She was born to Helen (Veara) and J. Eugene Parady of Rockport, Mass., on June 6, 1942, and raised in Rockport and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Marcia married Francis X. (Pete) Leahy with whom she had two sons, Shawn and Christopher. After they divorced, she married Curtis F. Torrey with whom she had one daughter, Rachel.

The family first moved to Atlanta where Marcia was a dancer and choreographer, then to Philadelphia where she worked as an advertising account executive. Later in life, she moved to Los Angeles where her work turned to writing, editing and designing websites, and her passion turned to yoga.

In 2007, Marcia moved to her beloved mountain town, Idyllwild, where she continued her work as a web designer and was an active member of AA, the program that saved her life 20 years ago and became the cornerstone for her rich community life. Indeed, many may not be with us today were it not in part for her sponsorship and service. Marcia was also a member of the Soroptimists of Idyllwild and the Spiritual Living Center.

Marcia leaves sons, Shawn and Christopher Leahy of Philadelphia; Christopher’s children, Jake and Chris; his wife, Juanita, and step-sons, Chris and Dylan Hume; daughter, Rachel Torrey of Idyllwild; and sister Linda Mahajan, her husband, Subhash, of Middleton, Mass., and their daughters, Shanti and Shauna.

Her children remember Marcia through the following thoughts.

Rachel: “I got this from my best friend John, and shared it with my mom a few days before she died. It goes something like this: ‘We come into the world kicking and screaming, because we don’t want to leave the womb as we feel so safe in there, and it’s all we know. Then we live our lives, and when it’s time to die, we usually go kicking and screaming because our life on Earth was safe and it’s all we know. But it’s just another birth!’ This comforts me to no end. All she could say after hearing this was, ‘Wow, I always knew there was something special about John. That’s really beautiful.’ My mom was my mentor, my biggest fan, and she never stopped pushing me to be a better person. In the end she came to the great realization that what matters is now. Her lust for life and learning will be with me always.”

Chris: “I read this and it goes along with her courage and steadfastness in recent years with regard to her health. It sounds like it came from one of those daily affirmation books, but it’s just such a Mom thing to say and really fits the situation: ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’ She definitely learned to dance in the rain in the past three years. It rained a lot, but she was dancing right to the end.”

Shawn: “My mom lived many lives in her one, reinventing herself continuously until her passing. She was spiritual yet practical, a mom and an entrepreneur, a wife and a free spirit. She was tough on slacking but melted in the face of accomplishment. She was a dancer, yoga instructor, PR maven and web designer, writer-journalist and photographer. She touched everyone she ever knew or met and was instrumental in the growth and even very existence of many people. I was very fortunate to have her as my mom. She showed me how to stand on my own feet and think for myself while still sharing love of community and a big belly laugh. We were not ready for her to leave.”

A celebration of Marcia’s life will be held in Idyllwild at 2 p.m. Sept. 8, 2012, at St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church. Rev. Dr. Betty Jandl, pastor of the Center for Spiritual Living — Idyllwild Religious Science, where Marcia was a member, will conduct the service. St. Hugh’s has graciously allowed use of their beautiful outdoor theatre and surrounding grounds for the service.

A second service will be held in Cape Ann, Mass., Oct. 13, 2012, with the location to be determined.