Norman "Red" & Mary Marcy
Whenever I run into friends from Parker, we always seem to just reminisce and reflect on the past. Recently a few of us were recalling the different school chums whose families owned their own businesses in Parker, i.e., Parker Theatre, Branding Iron Cafe, Haile's Barber Shop, Johnson's Western Wear, Norris' Market, to name a few.
On my way home, I began to think of these people, where are they now, what was it like for them in Parker back then? I set out to find them. One that immediately came to mind was the "Parker Home Bakery" owned by the Marcy family. Knowing that Bobby Marcy lived in the Scottsdale area, I contacted him and invited him to our home. I asked him to start from the very beginning. He did.
"My parents, Norman "Red" and Mary Marcy were married on May 25th, 1940 in Minneapolis, MN. My dad had lived in Columbia Heights, MN since birth; Sept. 1, 1906. He worked as a dining car cook for the Chicago & Northwestern Railway
, as a cook for the Log Cabin Cafe
and owned and operated the Taxi Cafe
in Columbia Heights for two years. He also worked as an assistant store manager and meat department manager for the Kassler Food Market in Columbia Heights."
"Red", as my dad was called, joined the Navy in June of 1942 as a "Ship's Cook First Class". He was honorably discharged in October of 1945. They had three children: Norma was born in 1943, I was born in 1945, Kathleen "Babe" in 1946. All of us were born in Minneapolis, MN.
"We moved to Arizona in December of 1950 due to dad's health reasons, chronic pneumonia and weak lungs being at the top of his health problems.
(Bobby shared that it wasn't until they were older did they learn that their dad's prognosis at the time was not good). However, dad's look on life was different, both mom and dad were hard working and generous people; they loved Parker and had many friends. He healed and opened the "Parker Home Bakery in 1951 on Arizona Avenue next to First National Bank a few years later. It was moved for the last time across the street from the current Basha's Grocery store on Kofa avenue. Growth was the main reason for these moves."
Bobby is proud to say that his dad was the pioneer of getting the Elk's Club in Parker. He was the first "Exalted Ruler" of the Elks Club, and still has his dad's membership cards. When you see it you can see the number "1" in the upper left hand corner of the blue membership card. The other card shows that he was a charter member. He was a great influence in getting a public library in Parker, where he served on the board of directors. He was also a major influence in raising money money to get TV reception in Parker. Asked him how it was that Mr. Turk became what we all called, "The Antenna Man", he replied, "I'm not sure other than he had the great technical ability to do the job.
I asked Bobby what his role was in the family business. He replied that he always walked to work and that his dad would let him in the back door. He continued, "My dad worked 10-12 hour days. On holidays; days with special orders (weddings, anniversaries, etc.) or when dad was not feeling well, I would go in with him and help out." He stated that his sisters, Norma and Kathy "Babe" frosted cakes and cupcakes. They also would fry doughnuts when needed, frosted sweet rolls, and set everything out in the display counters. They took turns working the front counter waiting on customers after school. Mom would work the front counter during the day. I asked him if they ever hired from outside the family, and he replied that Kay Biro, Dart Hunter and a few others, also worked the bakery.
I asked him who their main customers consisted of; the public, restaurants? He replied that about 95% of baked goods were sold over the counter to customers coming off the street. The rest were special orders. He explained, "For example, we would get special orders for several dozen rolls or loaves of bread for the Lions Club or Elks Club functions. As a side note, we would also let the Elks Club or any other charitable organization come in and use our ovens at no charge to bake several turkey's, hams or other items at one time once the daily baking was completed for the special holiday dinners.
Were you open on Sundays, I asked? He stated that they were open Monday through Saturday. He also mentioned his dad would always leave the back door open for friends who wanted to drop by for a visit. "He always had a pot of coffee going and enjoyed the company." Bob continued, "The railroad engineers would often come in early and dad would fix them breakfast before they started work. That was how I managed to catch a free train ride into Phoenix during my teenage years for my orthodontic check-ups."
Bobby's oldest sister Norma, lives in Mesa and has two children; Stephen who lives in Mukilteo, Washington and Stacey who also lives in Mesa. Norma married Ken Hudzietz (deceased) who was part of the army training group that was in Parker in the mid-60's. Kathy "Babe" married Roy Wigley and reside in Payson. They have three children who all live in the Phoenix area: Louis, Douglas and Jessica.
Bobby recalled the first day they arrived in Parker in December 1950. They moved in with his Uncle Nordeen and Aunt Lillian Thompson who owned a set of apartments located on the corner of Laguna Avenue and Agency Rd. Directly across from them lived Pete Blake and "Shorty" Hines. He said that the first person he met was Pete Blake who came over while he was getting out of their car and asked if he wanted to play. From that day forward they were friends. As a matter of fact, he stated that the late Pete Blake, Paul Solper, the late Billy Holt and "Muggie" Fuqua were classmates from first grade through high school. When I asked him if Bill Hildebrand was in this group of friends he replied, "He didn't arrive in Parker until 1959 which would have been 8th grade for us. His dad (Dr. Hildebrand) was the local doctor."
Bob left Parker after graduating from Parker High school in 1963; served four years in the Navy and then settled in Casa Grande as an investigator for insurance companies. He toyed with a coin collection hobby that bloomed into a comfortable lifestyle for him. He married Jeanette Vasarhely who was also raised in Parker. Jeanette's parents owned "Bob's Hardware & Appliance" back in the day. They have a son Brian, wife Karen and twin grandchildren, Emma and Jack who are 8 years old. They also have a daughter Julie who is married to Jeremy Thompson.
I always like to ask, "If you could, what would you change?" When asked, Bobby said, "Nothing, I loved growing up in Parker. We spent a lot of time fishing on the Colorado River, no regrets." Yet, as he goes along his life, everything he does is with careful thought. His day is well planned and meaningful. He still follows that golden rule in which he was raised. "Time to make the donuts!"
"Red" and Mary Marcy closed the bakery in the early 1970's and retired to Yuma. Red passed away on December 3, 1980. Mary passed away on September 1, 1984. They are both interred at the Parker Cemetery and are both very much a part of Parker's history.
Written by: Dina Saucedo Dover