Margery Eliscu, Longtime Newspaper Columnist, Dies at 81

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Margery Eliscu, a longtime newspaper columnist who found gentle humor in everyday life, has died following a long battle with cancer. She was 81.

Eliscu, who died Thursday, wrote her “Coffee Break” column for the Maine Sunday Telegram for more than 23 years. She continued to write during her illness, with family members bringing a laptop computer to her bedside or sometimes taking dictation.

Her last column, a recollection of a poem her brother wrote when he was 12, appeared July 9.

“She loved hearing from readers, hearing that they enjoyed her work,” said Kathy Eliscu, a daughter. “She was always very flattered.”

Eliscu was born in New York City, and she sang professionally when she was younger at community and church events in her area.

She began writing professionally in the 1950s, when she wrote a national magazine article about natural childbirth. While raising her four children on Long Island, New York, she began writing for a weekly newspaper there.

In 1970, Eliscu and her husband moved from New York to a farmhouse in Poland, north of Portland.

She soon began writing a humor column for several area weekly newspapers, and in 1983 she started her column for the Maine Sunday Telegram. Her column found humor in daily life, from the mundane and trivial to the sad and painful.

Eliscu was recognized by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in 1995, when she placed third in the humor category for newspapers with over 100,000 circulation. One of Eliscu’s columns that most impressed judges was “how to use a public bathroom without touching any germy surface.”

Eliscu is survived by her husband of 63 years, Larry Eliscu, and three of their children.

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