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Where Are They Now? John Marquette

Marquette+in+his+senior+year+in+high+school+%28left%29+and+Marquette+now+%28right%29.+
Marquette in his senior year in high school (left) and Marquette now (right).

Marquette in his senior year in high school (left) and Marquette now (right).

John Marquette

John Marquette

Marquette in his senior year in high school (left) and Marquette now (right).

Danielle Alpert, News Editor

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Pretty much everyone agrees that Southern Lehigh is a small school district. Everyone knows everyone, and in high school you spend everyday with the same people you’ve known since the fourth grade. However, 1973 alumni John Marquette recalls it was once very different. There was once a time when students were grouped into classes of 35 to 40 based on similar abilities, talents, and likeliness to attend college. For Marquette, college was not a priority.

In high school, Marquette starred as Otis Skinner in the junior class production of “Our Hearts Were Young and Gay.” He had no desire to go to college and did not even take the SATs. However, someone told him to apply to Temple University, so he did and got accepted, an event that changed his future.

“My junior year at Temple took place at its Rome, Italy, campus. My academic year abroad was without a doubt the most exciting experience of my life because it taught me to act and think independently and to do so while speaking a different language,” Marquette said. “Those memories continue to guide my life and [allow me] to show compassion for people who are different, as Italians did for me.”

He finished his undergraduate education at the University of San Francisco in 1985 while working at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

“My major, originally in journalism at Temple, morphed into a bachelor’s degree in information sciences,” Marquette said. “It was during those years that I met Henry, the man I would eventually marry.”

He graduated with his master’s degree in library and information sciences from San José State University, leading him to become a public librarian in the small city of Commerce, only six miles from Los Angeles.

“Being a librarian is a cross between being a therapist and a detective. My work with the public required me to establish and maintain trust with the people who came to the reference desk with questions,” Marquette said. “In any relationship, trust must be earned and is so difficult to rebuild if violated. I earned and retained their trust through my career serving the city.”

After retiring in 2010, Marquette believes he made a wise decision by moving “somewhere he vowed he would never visit again: the Lehigh Valley.” Since then, he dedicated his time to social and industrial history, focusing on the first mayor, Archibald Johnston of Bethlehem, and the mansion that Johnston built, which became Housenick Park. Along with his studying came two books that he wrote and co-wrote.

Regardless of these unique opportunities for success, Marquette believes that the best piece of advice to allow him to experience life the way he did was given to him by a librarian at our very own Southern Lehigh Public Library:

“She listened to a story I told her, then looked me in the eye and said, ‘John, sometimes you just have to let other people be wrong.’ I wasn’t really sure what she meant,” Marquette said. “Now, almost 50 years later, I do. I don’t believe in giving advice, because you own part of the outcome.”

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Where Are They Now? John Marquette