Cover photo for Marilyn C. Davidson's Obituary
Marilyn C. Davidson Profile Photo
1934 Marilyn 2023

Marilyn C. Davidson

September 2, 1934 — June 1, 2023



Marilyn Copeland Davidson


Marilyn Copeland Davidson, died peacefully at home on June 1, 2023. She was born (Sarah Marilyn Copeland) on September 2, 1934 in New Castle, Indiana to Clyde and Hazel Copeland. Married to Douglass A. Davidson in December 1961, her husband preceded her in death in 2014. Marilyn is survived by her daughter Jenny and partner Gary, grandson Christopher (and his father Robert), daughter Diana and grandchildren Peter, Sergio and Stephanie (and their father Sergio Sr.). 


Marilyn was the youngest of six siblings, five of whom were music teachers (who preceded her in death): Frederick, Janet, Dorothy, Dick, and Phyllis and the beloved aunt (and great-aunt [great-great aunt]) of Theresa, Rick (Tony); Cheryl (Mark, Ted); Roger, Charlie (Pam, Misty); Marla, Dan (Miranda); Bruce, Vicki; John, Kim, Lisa (Max, Kristen [Ryan, Benjamin]); Larry; Kate (Julian, Claire), David, Marie; DeAnna, Ben (Bella).


The immediate family had a private cremation and will hold a burial on Friday, June 16th (1:00 PM) at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, NJ if you would care to attend. All are invited to a “Celebration of Life” to remember Marilyn in early August 2023 (date and location still to be announced).


In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to:


Bergenfield Friends of Music -- Mail to: Friends of Music, c/o Bergenfield High School, 80 South Prospect Ave, Bergenfield, NJ 07621

International House Student Housing -- (Class of 1956, Marilyn Copeland)


American Orff-Schulwerk Association Endowment Fund --


Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital --




Marilyn was an accomplished pianist, musician, educator and author. A piano savant by age 3, she was the recipient of the Young Artists award, Muncie Symphony 1953, received her BS and Masters from Ball State University 1955 (Outstanding Alumnus, Ball State University 1993) and received her diploma in piano from The Juilliard School of Music, NY 1956.


Found amongst some personal papers by her bedside, was the following quote carefully noted on a small pad from one of her favorite places, The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. “When you are teaching a person, you are embarking on a very holy time. You are taking a life into your hands.” -- Martha Graham


Marilyn was a music teacher for Dallas Public Schools, TX 1956–1957; Shortridge HS, Indianapolis, IN 1957–1962; Port Washington Public Schools, NY 1962–1966; Troy State University, AL 1966–1970; South Lyon Middle School, MI 1970–1972; Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ 1979–1983; Bergenfield Public Schools, NJ 1972–1984 (Governor's Teacher's Recognition award, New Jersey, 1995); Pequannock Public Schools, NJ 1986–1990.  She was a choir and music director/organist for Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Dumont, NJ 1973–1978 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 1980–1982 and a member of the Education Association (National & NJ chapters), Music Educators National Conference (music selection committee 1993, national assembly, writer for teacher's guides), New Jersey Music Educators Association (writer "It's Elementary" 1988–1996). She was also an education committee member and clinician of the NJ Symphony Master Teacher Project.


Marilyn was a leading member of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association 1981–2002 (presenter, lifetime member, regional representative, chairperson higher education, national vice president, national president, higher education post-level III advisory committee, AOSA celebrity advocacy panel selection committee) and was one of the founding board members (along with her dear friend and colleague Sue Snyder) of the Northern NJ Orff Schulwerk Association 1977, which still meets regularly at William Paterson University. ( 


In addition to being a music educator for thousands of children and adults, Marilyn was a successful coordinator/author for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Inc., NYC since 1984; a guest lecturer for the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center and at Carnegie Hall; developed and presented graduate-level music education workshops throughout United States and Canada; served as council member, piano soloist and accompanist for recitals with the Carley Singers Chamber Choir, Indianapolis 1957–1961; was a distinguished member of the Bergenfield Council for the Arts 1974–1980 and was an educational consultant for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra 1987–1992.


Some additional accomplishments include past performer/soloist for the Bergenfield Public Library 1996, piano soloist with Hawthorne Chamber Symphony, NJ 1996–1998, North Jersey Symphony, NJ 1996 & 2001, Rockland Symphony, NY 2003 & 2007. Other organizations include American Kodaly Educators, Delta Kappa Gamma, Pi Kappa Lambda and Sigma Alpha Iota.


Acknowledgements from the Family

-          Family friends, Yolanda Merlotti and Peggy Delgadillo, for their unwavering love, friendship, kindness and well visits

-          Dr. Richard Matican – primary caregiver

-          Ann Buscher for continuous support of the family

-          Latoya Kerr – dedicated home caregiver

-          Ambulance Staff from Bergenfield Volunteer and Holy Name

-          Nurse Carolyn from the VNA of Englewood, NJ and their team of expert and compassionate nurses

-          Sanzari's New Bridge Inn for always making Marilyn feel like part of their family

-          Riewerts Funeral Home, Bergenfield, NJ

-          George Washington Cemetery, Paramus, NJ



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