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30-year veteran of Ledger dies at nursing home on Long Island

McNamara was known as the glue that for many years held together the Bayside Times and the Little Neck Ledger, the two papers that later became the cornerstones of the TimesLedger chain.She joined the papers from 1969 until 1989, leaving three months before TimesLedger Publisher Steven Blank bought the Bayside Times and the Ledger, but she returned to her old stomping grounds as an employee in the Telemarketing Department in the 1990s until 2001."She was a marvelous woman," said Bob DeBono, who worked with McNamara when he was the TimesLedger's telemarketing manager. Born in 1918, McNamara grew up in Manhattan in the once rough-and-tumble area known as Hell's Kitchen, said her younger brother, Francis McNamara, before eventually moving to Little Neck where she lived until she went into the nursing home in Huntington three years ago."She used to work for an electrician in Douglaston as a girl Friday," Francis McNamara said. "Then she got involved with the (Little Neck) Ledger and then transferred to the Bayside Times."Back in those years, McNamara filled many roles as the assistant to the publisher, becoming the human face of the Little Neck Ledger and Bayside Times as the papers grew and evolved. "She did everything," said Carol Allison, former owner of the two papers from 1977 to 1989. "Layout, production. She was a very good worker, and she was missed when she left the paper. When you get good people, it's hard to say goodbye to them.""She was the paper," said TimesLedger Publisher Steve Blank, who bought the papers from the Allison family in 1989. "For the first three or four years, everything that came to the paper was addressed to Marie McNamara."McNamara went to work for the Queens Courier from May 1989 until early 1993. But despite her advancing age and health problems, McNamara returned to the Bayside Times, Little Neck Ledger and the five other newspapers that made up the TimesLedger chain at that time in 1994. "She was working in the evenings then and used to verify subscription sales on the phone," said Larry Clement, circulation manager who oversaw McNamara in the Telemarketing Department at one point. "She was a very diligent person, very sincere."And although McNamara suffered painful arthritis in her hands, she kept working into her 80s until she retired in 2001."She never complained about the arthritis, but she would be annoyed that it was a nuisance," DeBono said. "But she always kept her great sense of humor."The two co-workers used to buy lottery tickets, he said."We had a thing where we used to purchase scratch-off tickets together," DeBono said. "She really got a big kick out of it, winning a dollar or two."In 2001, McNamara moved to the Center of Nursing & Rehabilitation at Birchwood in Huntington, L.I., where Francis McNamara said he and his wife would visit her often."She was very close to me," he said. "We took her to eat at the diner on the corner once a week, and she would get French dip. She loved that."McNamara's funeral was held Feb. 3 at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Little Neck, where she had been a member for much of her life, her brother said.She was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Flushing. Marie McNamara is survived by her sister, Agnes Devita, and brothers Francis and Paul McNamara.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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