Dear Seneca County,
Most times when you hear the words "lawyer" or "politician," you think the worst; sneaky, dishonest, etc. Besides used car salesmen, they are probably the most maligned professions we have. Well, Barb Marley was a lawyer and a politician, and you couldn't ask for someone who was more of an opposite of those unpleasant stereotypes.
I knew Barb from both of her professions and from countless committees and boards she served on. I can tell you she was honest, hardworking and fair. I believe the only political race she ever lost was when we ran head-to-head for mayor back in 2003. You would think she would be bitter or nasty to me afterwards; far from it. While I was mayor and she was on city council, a couple council members would try to give me grief over this or that. She would come to my aid and say something along the lines of how she sat in my chair before and she knows what the mayor can and cannot do. There would be times when I was trying to get something passed by council, and once again, a couple of the council members would argue just for the sake of arguing, and she would agree with me and put a quick end to the foolishness. After these occurrences, the great thing about Barb, would be her "disclaimer" on her defense and agreement with me by stating things like, "I can't believe I'm sticking up for Davoli" or "I can't believe I am agreeing with Davoli." Barb had a very good sense of humor.
Now it wasn't always wine and roses and it wasn't always a "yes" vote from Barb. She was a loyal Democrat, much more liberal than this very conservative independent, so there were times when we would disagree on a topic or two. I would try to persuade her, but she would stay firm on what she believed. And although we would disagree, she was always polite, professional and never carried a grudge. We would agree to disagree and that would be that; no hard feelings.
Another thing I loved about Barb is that, although she tried to come across as this gruff and tough lawyer, she had a heart of gold. I remember years ago, taking my little baby Noah to the one-hour "babysitting" service during Mass. There was Barb, reading books and playing with the children. Some folks would complain about her being late to a meeting (which she was notorious for), but those folks didn't know she was coming from another meeting or another board or committee she served on. She was very devoted to Fostoria and would help out and serve whenever she could and whenever she was asked.
Barb was always very busy and with a very full schedule, but would always find a way to write her poetry. Now I must say, she was no Shakespeare, (she would always apologize for her "sonnets" before she read them) but she did, once again, take the time to do it. Even with her stoic presentation of her poetry, she would always bring a smile to the listeners.
By now, Barb is probably saying, "I can't believe Davoli wrote a letter about me," but it was my honor to have written this letter. Barb Marley was a fair and honest lawyer and politician and more importantly, she was a tremendous asset to Fostoria and Seneca County and she will be sorrowfully missed.