Charles & Ruth Marcon
The beautiful West Allentown home of Ruth and Charles Marcon is a remarkable reflection of their lives. Clearly, family is paramount to the Marcons. Three adult daughters, an adult son, and seven grandchildren, ranging in age from 11 months to 16 years, make life eventful and enjoyable.
“The Lehigh Valley is home,” says Charlie. “Ruth and I grew up here. We’ve worked here, we’re involved with the community, and this is where my business is.” That business is Duggan & Marcon, Inc. established in 1929 as a lathing and plastering business. Today, Duggan & Marcon is a finishes contractor for commercial, industrial, and institutional projects. For Charlie, business is linked to community and philanthropy. “It is the community that enables us to have a successful business,” he observes, “and giving back to the community is necessary and gratifying.”
“I was very much influenced by my uncle, Frank L. Marcon, who was a founder of DeSales University and instrumental in the establishment of the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lehigh Valley Industrial Parks system. He was still involved with the company when I came on board, and he got me involved with the community.”
Ruth, who has been involved with women’s issues, including work with Planned Parenthood, has also been active in her church, First Presbyterian Church of Allentown. Ruth has taught Reading at Trexler Middle School, English at Emmaus High School and Children’s Literature at both Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg Colleges.
Both Ruth and Charlie have been fellowship advisors at their church, and Charlie has served on the boards of multiple Lehigh Valley nonprofit organizations. He sees the power of philanthropy in the community first-hand as a trustee of the Harry B. Trexler Trust and as a Governor of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. “I enjoy working with the Board and staff of the Community Foundation,” says Charlie. “Serving on the Board has also given me the opportunity to learn about needs in the community and how to meet them. It has been very satisfying to watch the Foundation grow from roughly $21 million in assets when I joined the Board, to having more than $38 million in assets today. The Foundation has an important mission. If you want to give to the community, the Foundation is a great way to do it.”
The long-term perspective that characterizes Charlie’s work at Duggan & Marcon is also reflected in his and Ruth’s views of their legacy. “The legacy that we’ll leave behind,” says Ruth, “will be children and grandchildren, not a well-known name. We’re not important enough to be remembered in that way,” she laughs, “and that’s fine with us.” “That’s not important to us,” Charlie adds. “I’ve lived long enough to know that people who are famous leave us and life goes on. What is important to me are goals and aspirations–setting goals and defining a vision and then accomplishing those things. It is the vision–not our names–that matters. And the vision, for us, is to have the Lehigh Valley be an increasingly better place in which to live.
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