Margie Robinson-Jeter 1964-2006

She never brushed past you. She made time to talk.

She never closed her door. She made time to listen. Everyone, from Style Weekly's publisher to the team of classified sales representatives Margie led, liked to linger in her office for a brief refuge from the travails of the day. The little room was kept dim, but Margie's presence made it bright.

She made time to buy just the right birthday card. To play Scattergories on Fridays. And still she had abundant time for her two children, Grace, 7, and Calvin, 4, and for her husband, Tom; for her relatives and for her many far-flung friends.

In the days after her death May 26 from cardiac arrest, those who knew her could only speak of how we wanted more time. Why hadn't we met her for lunch once more? We wanted one more encouraging e-mail from the woman who, as her husband put it, "was the world's greatest cheerleader." One more hug — and from Margie, there were no feeble presses. Only big, strong, real hugs.

Then we understood we had been granted that one more time. We had seen her with her family at a recent exhibit at the Rentz Gallery, at the raucous launch party of the music issue, at the May wedding of two staff members, at Race for the Cure. She had paused in the hall, or on the street, to ask us how we were.

It was no coincidence that we got those chances. Margie made time to be there.

She was as busy as the rest of us, probably busier. In her 12 years at Style, she worked ceaselessly, first as a part-time receptionist and, in the last seven years, as classified advertising director. She was deeply devoted not only to her own department, but to all of Style. Year after year, she attended conferences and built relationships with members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies; last year, the magazine gained admittance. Margie was widely respected for her industry knowledge and was scheduled to speak at a classifieds seminar at AAN's national convention next weekend.

She was so many rare things. She was a cleareyed optimist. She was strikingly tall — maybe that's how she got the leverage for those great hugs. She loved her work. Because she was glad to walk in the door every morning, we were glad to be here, too.

Tom Jeter tells a story that illustrates who Margie was. Years ago, the two lived in Portsmouth. On their street lived a man they called "Superman."

Superman liked to stand on the sidewalk, wearing a skintight Superman shirt and brown high-waters, and wave at cars. If the driver waved back, Superman grinned. If the driver didn't wave, Superman made obscene gestures, cursed and brandished his fist. It was no surprise that Margie loved him.

One day, Tom and Margie walked into a nearby 7-Eleven. Superman was there, watching the hot dogs rotate slowly on the rollers. He looked up when Margie came in — who wouldn't?

"Is that your girlfriend?" he asked Tom.

"Yeah, that's my girlfriend," Tom said.

"That's a big, blond Supergirl!" Superman declared.

Yes she was. And we are glad she flew down to be with us for a while. S

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