Janice Marugg & Family
The Maruggs were an outstanding and well-known local family who played multiple and key roles in the struggle against bigotry and segregation in Monrovia. Kathryn Marugg, Jan’s mother-in-law, was a much loved kindergarten teacher at the segregated Huntington School, who worked closely with Principal Allie Romney, purchased many of the items used by her classes and sponsored the sixth grade Science Club. After she retired, I spent a few wonderful years working with this bright and delightful woman on research of the rapidly changing and decolonizing Africa,
for the League of Women Voters of Monrovia. Kathryn’s oldest son, Jerry, was elected in 1957 to the Monrovia City School District on a platform calling for change and with an agenda influenced by his mother and Allie Romney. Although the Board approved a reduction of the tax-rate which would cut the school’s resources, change was on the way. In 1960, a new liberal reform-oriented board (including Marugg) was elected and the separate (and not equal) elementary district came to an end. The Board spent its first months searching for a Superintendent for the new Monrovia Unified School District. The elections to fund the new District and to elect the Board to run it, proved a catastrophe for the schools with the proposed funding turned down and three members of the John Birch Society elected to the Board. A community organization (Alliance for a Better Community) was developed in response to the situation and together with such groups as the School District, itself, the Bill Brooks - led Human Relations Commission, the League of Women Voters of Monrovia, the NAACP and various churches and individuals educated the community and fought for change. Jerry Marugg and his wife Janice joined Rollie Hawes, Pete Lippman, the Sandfords, Bill Brooks and others in leading the Alliance, which eventually saw appropriate funding for the schools and an end to segregation and –later- the election of a progressive majority (including a Black man, Bob Bartlett) to the City Council. Janice Marugg was probably the best known and most influential member of the family. She was born Janice Elizabeth Glotfelty, and lived most of her life in Monrovia, a city that became the focus of her passionate and tireless efforts in improvement and development. At age three, Jan developed polio. As tragic as that may seem, it made her stronger and more determined to excel in life, and to help others. As she grew up, Jan learned to ride horses and that skill became a part of her rehabilitation and a lifelong love of horses that led to horseracing, a hobby she shared with her husband. As a young girl, Jan often played ball in the street on Primrose Ave. with the Marugg kids and others, not realizing that she would eventually marry Jerry in 1962. Jan and Jerry were inseparable for 56 years. Jan attended Monrovia schools and enjoyed many friendships along the way. She attended Occidental College, earning a degree in Early Childhood Education. Through it all, Jan’s sense of humor was evident. In college a friend once asked her if she wanted to go on a blind date. Her response: “How blind is he?” He was Jerry Marugg. Jan volunteered her services to many organizations in Monrovia, and also became the Executive Director of the Monrovia Chamber of Commence for 13 years. In her role and with strong connections in the business community, she became a key leader in the redevelopment of the city enhancing the work of Monrovia’s Mayor, Bob Bartlett. She revitalized the Chamber, making it the key organization in Monrovia. Her work was recognized by the National Association of Chamber Membership Directors when it selected Monrovia’s Chamber as No. One in the nation. It was not uncommon to see Jan appear at City Council meetings to speak in support of local business owners seeking to improve their work in town. She also spoke in favor of civil rights issues and the need to include all residents in the city’s future. In 1970, when most of Monrovia’s retail stores and cohesive spirit were languishing, Jan became a vocal advocate of taking Monrovia in a new direction. In addition to her work, she was a strong leader and volunteer for such organizations as the Santa Anita Family Service, the Friends of California Libraries, the Monrovia Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Many Monrovians remember Jan as a woman who selected appropriate individuals for leadership roles in the community and then prepared and trained them for the job and responsibility. During her youth, Jan twice plucked me from obscurity to appoint me to boards she chaired. In later years, I realized the impact Jan had on encouraging me and many others to seek their best results as leaders and mentors to Monrovia’s future.