Dedications 2021

Marshall Marcovitz, born and raised in Chicago, was a lifelong Bulls, Bears, and Cubs fan. He founded and built the highly successful Chef’s Catalog, and later sold it to Neiman-Marcus.  He then made a momentous change in his life, moving to New York to be closer to his children and grandchildren.   A few years after arriving, Marshall met and married the love of his life, the children’s book writer, Liz Levy. They packed a dazzling trail of travel and fun into their time together.

Marshall had taken film studies courses in Chicago, and after his move he was eager to again be part of a learning community. Soon after he hit New York he discovered the IRP and became an enthusiastic participant.  For us he coordinated a number of heavily subscribed study groups on film and creativity.  He also took writing courses and contributed his prose to Voices.

Along with Robin Sacknoff, Marshall was a founding editor of the highly popular photography section of Voices Online.  As a printed journal, IRP Voices had contained poetry and prose.  When we went digital, it became possible to include photos, and we discovered to our amazement that our program had many gifted photographers, Marshall among them.

Marshall’s specialty was portraiture. During the past few years Marshall would walk the streets of Manhattan and upon seeing a stranger with an interesting glance, would request to take their picture. This often extended into conversation and friendship.

Many of us in IRP/LP2 were part of Marshall’s rich and enriching life.  We remember him fondly.


Peter Houts was for many years a professor of social psychology at Penn State Medical School.  His work there focused on learning and the needs of vulnerable populations.  He developed educational programs for caregivers of cancer patients and did research into the social and psychological effects of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

He also found time to pursue interests in the visual arts.  After retirement he studied painting and graphic design at the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design.  He was a talented weaver, photographer and painter.

Peter and his wife Mary joined the IRP after moving to Brooklyn from a 32-acre Pennsylvania farm with goats, sheep, pigs and bees.   Peter coordinated study groups in psychology, art, and photography.  He also served on the curriculum committee and took photos of new members.  With Jerry Vogel, Peter was photo editor for our most recent issues.

Peter’s remarkable photography, some of which has graced our publication, includes artful pictures of flower arrangements and birds.   And as a natural teacher and dear colleague, he provided guidance and encouragement to many other photographers in our program.


Mary R. Smith grew up in the state of Washington.  After college, she and her husband David joined the second group of Peace Corps volunteers.  Mary she taught young women in newly independent Nigeria.  Mary had a long career as an English teacher in Connecticut, retiring after 30 years at New Canaan High School, where she was department chair, a teacher trainer, and a director of student plays.

Mary’s passions included theater, music and language.  She was an accomplished poet and writer, and enjoyed live music and theater to the fullest, especially in her retirement years in New York City.  Mary loved to travel and to engage new people and ideas and cultures.  Whether on the barstool over dinner at her local watering hole or on a hike up Machu Picchu, Mary always found a way to be enthralled by the people and places and ideas she encountered.  Her laugh best captured the wonder and joy that Mary experienced as she engaged the world.

Along with Carmen Mason, Mary was a prose editor for several issues of Voices Online.  She also contributed poetry to Voices, and coordinated a study group on the sonnet