Marjorie Macris.

Marjorie W. Macris, 88, longtime Mill Valley resident and former Marin County Planning Director, died of heart failure at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco on October 16, 2023. Born in Chicago and raised in the Midwest, Marge graduated from York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, in 1952. At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and was co-salutatorian of her 1956 class, and earned a master’s degree in journalism and urban planning in 1957.

Marge was a pioneer in the city planning field, beginning in graduate school when she was the only woman in her classes. Later, as one of the few women planning directors in the U.S., she brought new ideas and perspectives to the field and was a role model and mentor for other women planners in leadership positions.

Macris began her career in the Chicago Planning Department, eventually becoming an Assistant Director and chief editor of Chicago’s 1966 comprehensive plan.

In 1970, soon after moving with her family to the Bay Area, Marge joined the Marin County Planning Department. She was principal author of the innovative 1973 Marin Countywide Plan, which introduced policies for compact urban development, environmental protection, agricultural and recreational land preservation, and community cooperation that still guide the county today. As Marin County Planning Director from 1978 to 1984, Marge led implementation of the plan. She went on to serve as City of Berkeley Planning Director from 1984 to 1989 and then as interim director and consultant for various Bay Area cities.

She was active in the American Planning Association, California Planning Foundation, and California Planning Roundtable, and wrote a California planning commissioner guidebook published by Solano Press.After her retirement in the early 2000s, Marge volunteered her experience and skills for planning and environmental advocacy in Marin County. She served on boards of the Marin Conservation League, Marin Baylands Advocates, Sierra Club Marin Group, and Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative.

Marge was known for her keen intellect, stamina, determination, altruism, good humor, and wit. She capably balanced a demanding career and family life at a time when few women worked outside the home. She took up running in middle age and completed many races, including the Boston Marathon three times. An intrepid traveler, she enjoyed camping and hiking trips to the Sierra Nevada, Death Valley, and the Rocky Mountains; mountain treks in Tibet, Pakistan, and Patagonia; and a tour of the Algerian desert by camel.

She had great respect and empathy for animals and was an avid adopter of cats, including old and frail ones that desperately needed homes. She was a clever poetess, an accomplished pianist, and the anchor of the family dinner table.

Marge is survived by her brother Roger Wiegand and sister-in-law Sylvia Wiegand; brother David Wiegand; son Eric Macris; daughter Natalie Macris and son-in-law Donald Dean; granddaughter Charlotte Keilman-Macris; a nephew, niece, and their spouses and children; and former husband Dean Macris and his wife Ruthe Macris. She also leaves two beloved cats.

Macris was predeceased by her father David E. Wiegand and mother Mabel Irene Wiegand, and her second husband Douglas McClellan.The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of UCSF for their skilled and compassionate care of Marge in recent years.

A memorial service will be held at Church of Our Saviour, 10 Old Mill Street, Mill Valley, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2023. Contributions in Marge’s memory may be made to the environmental organization of your choice.


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