George Marro’s death saddens Saybrook

George “Butch” Marro, who worked in the Saybrook College dining hall, died Friday of unknown causes. His age was not available.

Marro worked for 17 years at the Saybrook dining hall, where he swiped cards during breakfast and worked on the serving line during lunch. Students, employers and colleagues described Marro as a good listener, a passionate worker and a selfless friend.

A picture of Marro stands surrounded by flowers next to the front desk where he once greeted students each morning. Saybrook Master Paul Hudak announced Marro’s death to the Saybrook community in an e-mail Saturday.

Saybrook dining hall staff spoke of Marro as a man who smiled and joked around often. Jeff Arico, a second cook in Saybrook, described a running joke in which he and Marro would refer to each other by the foods they were preparing.

“He would always put a smile on my face,” Arico said. “He would greet us every day with a ‘Good morning, cheffies!’ We just had a great rapport.”

In addition to noting his daily greetings, staff members said Marro was willing to help a friend in need.

Saybrook pantry worker Trina Shealy described Marro as a father figure, one who was always ready with advice when she needed assistance.

“We were best friends,” Shealy said. “We rode home together, ate at each other’s houses. He was always there for me — he taught me how to keep my area clean when I was new to my job, and he was always willing to spot me money for things if I didn’t have any.”

Three colleagues emphasized Marro’s dedication to his work. He loved Yale students, they said, and he did everything he could to improve the dining hall for them. He often made chocolate pudding with chocolate chips, his favorite treat, for students, Shealy said, and he was famous among Saybrugians for his fruit platters and jello.

“His desserts were off the wall; they were so delicious,” Shealy said.

Yale College Council President Jon Wu ’11, a member of Saybrook College, said his most vivid memory of Marro centered on his chocolate pudding.

“One time I complimented Butch on the special pudding that he sometimes made,” Wu said. “The very next morning, he set it out right next to the fruits.”

Hudak described Marro as the “ideal employee,” outstanding for his work ethic, friendliness and investment in students.

Austin Baik ’11 said he appreciated the camaraderie Marro developed with students. Marro always took the time to chat or joke around with them, Baik said.

Marro always had the best interest of the students in mind, added Ben Lash ’11.

“If I wanted to go back into the dining hall to pick up a bagel or fruit, and I’d swiped in earlier, he would always let me back in,” Lash said.

Marro worked the morning shift, so he was often the first person that workers and students saw when they walked into the dining hall. Becky Brown ’11 said Marro always welcomed her with a “big smile.”

After seeing Marro every morning for the past several years, Jeremy Lent ’11 said he already misses his welcoming presence.

“The last thing he ever said to me was, ‘You know that whenever I’m in here, you’re welcome,’” said Lent. “I will miss that.”

Information about a service for Marro and his surviving relatives was not immediately available.

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