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Grande Dame Award

2007 Marion Washburn


Over 42 years ago when her son Bruce became an eight and under, age group swimmer at the old Casino Pool on the Fort Lauderdale Beach, Marion Washburn became an active parent involved in competitive swimming, the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Dames. To this day, Marion is one of ISHOF's most loyal supporters.


Marion began working with Bruce's age group coach mainly as the parent liaison to Bruce's coach by providing information to the parents regarding swim meet dates, times and schedules. She collected meet entry fees and timed at all swim meets she attended, whether age group or senior meets. She became the Vice President of the Fort Lauderdale Swim Association, which later became the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team, and the Meet Manager of the prestigious Pine Crest Woodson Invitational Swimming Meet.


In the late 1960's, she joined the Hall of Fame Dames, the premier women's volunteer service organization to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. During her years with the Dames, Marion served as Vice President, Secretary and, for most of her years, Treasurer. She became the ticket seller at the first of many International Diving Meets held annually in May. After noticing the efficiency and reliability of Marion's work ethics, ISHOF Executive Director Buck Dawson hired her to be on the staff of the Hall of Fame, a position she held for 21 years.


Marion “wore many hats” during her years at ISHOF. She was the Librarian, responsible for maintaining the books, publications and information research. She served as the Bookstore and Souvenir Department Manager, responsible for stocking the shelves and selling the items to the public. She also served as the Office Manager, responsible for maintaining the office equipment and supplies. All the while, she served as the ISHOF Bookkeeper, responsible for keeping the financial ledgers in order.


During her twenty-one years on the staff of ISHOF, Marion also contributed countless hours of volunteer service as a Hall of Fame Dame. Upon her retirement in 1994, she was asked and agreed to serve on the Henning Library Advisory Board as an advisor to The Henning at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a position she held for another nine years. Recently, she has returned to The Henning one day per week as the main librarian to keep the library in operating order.


Marion has proved that one person can do many things well. ISHOF and the Hall of Fame Dames are fortunate that she did those “many things” to help the Hall of Fame.

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