Sunday, 15 December 2013

Marilynn Figueroa exits 333

Marilynn Figueroa, as Hugh Wesley noted in a Facebook posting, knows where all of the bodies are buried after three-plus decades in Sun executive offices at 333.

Marilynn walked out of the Toronto Sun on Friday as yet another vet leaving the tabloid. A farewell gathering is being planned for January.

Behind every Sun boss in the early decades of the Sun, there was an efficient, personable secretary. Women like Trudy Eagan, Lynn Carpenter, Annemarie Cimowsky. Marilynn Figueroa.

Saying farewell:

Moria MacDonald, former Toronto Sun education columnist:
"Marilynn was my first stop in my first summer job at the paper. She took one look at me and said, "Never wear white when you're working at this place." 

"Marilyn, the 'fixer' above all fixers, a paragon of patience and discretion, thoughtfulness too. She helped make the trains run on time. A class act."

Les Pyette, former Toronto Sun city editor/publisher and CEO:
"Retiring?" asks Les, who worked with Marilynn for 14 years in Toronto and Calgary.

"I think she is leaving after 33 years," he says. "Quite a record, quite a gal. Marilynn always had your back, a first-class pal." 

Don Hawkes, former Toronto Sun associate editor:
"Can't believe Marilynn is packing it in," says Don Hawkes. "She has to be the longest-running good looker in history. Say hi to her for me. I'm off my feet temporarily, or I'd do it myself."

Ian Robertson, another former Toronto Sun vet:
"I don't know what the Sun will do without 'the rock.'

"No matter how busy Marilynn was, she always accommodated staff, no matter what job they did," says Ian. "Efficient, helpful and kind aptly describes her.

"I recall Marilynn when I first joined the Sun through 25 years until my retirement last January - always bustling with work, with gentle reminders to get my delayed expense accounts in, forever getting them put through, helping us all out when company accountants started billing for all long-distance calls on our company BlackBerries, without bothering to confirm if they were business or personal.

"Some, like me, never made personal long-distance calls from work (I have a Bell calling card, which is only fair - wise and you never lose track, trying to recall who you called a month or two ago). Marilynn straightened the bean-counters out fast.

"Could it be she reminded them of their promise - in writing to us all - when the cell phone plan began, to bill staff only for personal long-distance calls? Must have rocked the budget; one ad staffer got a 50-cent demand. She'll be missed."

John Downing, former Toronto Sun editor in an FB posting:
"Marilynn had this competent calm even if Les or Peter or Mike or some impostor stayed crazy longer than the daily five minutes. 

"When the accountants or HR or the business office or some puffed up official from the 'outside; delivered the latest incomprehensible manoeuvre against common sense, she cut through the BS and saved the day, and your feelings. 

"Marilynn was more captain of the ship than the admirals who took the salutes."

Lew Fournier, former veteran Toronto Sun copy desker, from FB:
"A CEO of a major engineering firm once told me: I can take off for six months and no one misses me; my secretary takes off for a day and the whole place falls apart.

Marilynn's holidays were a time of dread around the Sun; her return was occasion for joy. I can't count the number of times she helped me and other staff members, all with a great smile and an ability to let all the crap around her roll off her shoulders. 

"I love you, Marilynn."

Trudy Eagan, Toronto Sun secretary to 6th floor executive: 
"Marilynn has been a key member of the Sun family for many years and has contributed a great deal to ensuring editorial ran smoothly (or as much as that is possible) during these years. 

"She will be missed by many. Thanks Marilynn. Here's to the next chapter. Knowing you kept Pyette and Strobel (amongst others) in line qualifies you for most anything Ciao Bella."

John Cosway, former Toronto Sun vet:
"Secretaries were the unsung heroes during the glory years of the Toronto Sun, so much so that management (Doug) introduced Secretaries Day when all were wined, dined and pampered. 

"Marilynn's 30-plus years of dedication to the inner workings at 333 were no doubt filled with enough stories for a book. Hopefully, Marilynn, you are leaving on your own terms and this is not another squeeze play. 

"And darn, Marilynn, you are departing just as I was learning to spell your first name with two ns. Enjoy your post-Sun years.

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More comments about Marilynn and her departure can be read in the Toronto Sun Family's Facebook group.

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