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Published: Monday, 1/18/2010

O-I secretary a 'friend' of museum

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Marjorie Bolan Gately, 93, a Toledo native who worked as a personal secretary for Owens-Illinois Inc. executives for nearly 40 years, died Saturday at Kingston Residence of Sylvania after experiencing deteriorating health the last few years.

A descendant of storied local families, Mrs. Gately worked for more than 23 years as executive secretary for Raymon H. Mulford, O-I's chairman, who died in 1973. Mrs. Gately retired from O-I in 1986.

In 1972, for a Blade Sunday Magazine article on top private secretaries, she shared tactics for one of her main tasks: screening telephone calls.

"If a caller is rude and won't explain his mission, I won't fool with 'em," she had said. "Usually it's a stockbroker or an insurance man, or the office of a politician from Washington, soliciting."

Mrs. Gately always was genteel and refined, said one of her nieces, Sarah Hartley.

She wondered why her male relatives didn't always wear coats and ties on the weekend, said one of her nephews, John Fisher.

"She never wore pants in her life until she retired from O-I," he recalled. "She thought women should look like women."

Born to John and Gertrude Bolan on Jan. 6, 1917, Mrs. Gately descended from storied Toledo families.

Laskey Road was named for Mrs. Gately's great-great-grandfather on her mother's side, Thomas Laskey. Her mother's family settled nearly 200 years ago in what is now West Toledo.

At the turn of the 20th century, her paternal grandfather, John Bolan, was a saloon owner and Democratic boss in Toledo.

Mrs. Gately graduated from St. Ursula Academy and she attended the former Mary Manse College for two years and then Stautzenberger College. She always kept up with fellow St. Ursula graduates, Mr. Fisher said.

Although Mrs. Gately had many suitors, she did not marry until she was 69, Ms. Hartley said. "Somebody called her an old maid once, and she told them she was a maiden," she said. "She was adorable."

After more than a year of long-distance courting, she married a widower whose late wife had been one of her St. Ursula friends, Mr. Fisher said. She was married to Alexander Gately for 23 years until he died in 2008.

When Mrs. Gately learned of a St. Ursula graduate or an O-I employee who died, she would attend their funerals even if she didn't know them, especially if they were elderly, Mr. Fisher said.

"There may not be many people there," he said she would tell her relatives. "I want to swell the crowd."

For nearly 40 years, Mrs. Gately was a Toledo Museum of Art "friend" who volunteered to enlist members.

"She got a lot of people to join the museum of art," Ms. Hartley said.

Mrs. Gately collected cut glass, enjoyed traveling, and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She was a member of various organizations, including the Toledo Botanical Garden and Toledo Zoo,

She's survived by nieces, nephews, and stepchildren. Visitation will be after 4 p.m. today at the Ansberg-West Funeral Home. The funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Gesu Church, and burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

The family suggests tributes to St. Ursula Academy.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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