She was very much like a steel magnolia

David Stevens

She enjoyed writing and painting and collecting Indian artifacts.
She played the piano, acted as literary agent for creative family members and loved gardening.
She was a beauty queen — Miss Roswell in 1947 — and could have been Miss New Mexico if she hadn’t caught the measles and been eliminated from the competition, a fate she never complained about.
“She was very glad. She’d kinda had it with beauty pageants,” said oldest daughter Tracy LeCocq.
Marilyn Huber was like a television mom — beautiful, talented, down to earth. We know these things just from reading her husband Bob’s column each week on this page. Even those of us who never met her feel like we’ve lost a good friend.
She suffered a heart attack and died Saturday at her home in Portales. She was 72.
“She had a great sense of humor,” LeCocq said.
“She was a marvelously strong person. She was kind and rather queenly. You got the impression of high class.”
We knew Bob was kidding most of the time when he sneered at his wife’s common sense and multiple skills. We suspected his humorous portrayals were presented with Marilyn’s permission all along and Bob confirmed that notion on Sunday.
“I would write a column, bring it out in the rough and read it to her,” he said. “She was more conscious, I think, of what people want to see in the column. She’d say that’s too rough or that’s not good enough and I would take it back and correct it.”
Bob Huber’s column has been appearing in the Portales News-Tribune since 1994 and next week will be No. 500. All have been approved in advance by Marilyn.
Her favorite may have been the one Bob wrote last week in which he feigned horror “at this baldheaded person sleeping next to me.”
Marilyn was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
“I’m getting used to Marilyn’s plight these days,” wrote Bob, who is permanently bald. “I don’t even flinch anymore when she comes sashaying out for breakfast in her naked skull. I just say ‘Hi Bill.’
“She looks at me and shakes her nude head. ‘How many times do I have to say it — don’t wear my wigs to breakfast? You can have them when my hair grows back.’”
Bob said Marilyn liked the column because of its honesty.
“It was the most truthful,” he said on Sunday.
Bob and Marilyn met at a University of Colorado mixer in 1951.
“She heard his laugh and he heard hers,” said LeCocq, who was featured in Sunday’s Huber column, along with her sister Holly Huber. “He went home knowing that she was the gal he was going to marry. And she was entranced. Six weeks later they eloped.”
They stayed married 52 years.
Bob Huber said his wife did not want any fanfare when she died. So no services will be held. Instead, the girls will plant a magnolia tree in their mother’s honor.
“She was very much like a steel magnolia,” Tracy LeCocq said.

David Stevens is editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be reached at 1-800-819-9925 or by e-mail:
David_Stevens@link.freedom.comShe was very much like a steel magnolia