Marvin Orbach

Thanks to Chris Faiers word has been raised that Marvin Orbach has passed on.
What a lovely man he was. I only had the briefest correspondences with him over the last couple years. It’s rare for a gentle spirit to come through email. He struck me as such a kind and straight-up sort of man. He was in my thoughts over these last few months thinking of putting another package together for him soon. I kept putting other things to higher priority. In this way one can lose contact with people who don’t agitate for attention.
A librarian he began collecting books at the age of 17 and by 2002 had developed a collection of approximately which has become over 5000 items which he donated to Special Collections at the U of Calgary, many early 19th and early 20th century, rare and ephemeral things of chapbooks, leaflets, pamphlets to document what CanLit was doing. In the last email I got from him he wrote, “Thank you again for taking the time to send me the package. You are helping to preserve the fragile parts of our literary heritage.”
He liked quietly working behind the scenes. A bio by Scott McCrae from over a decade ago said, “Always told about other lives, never asked about yours. That, according to Marvin Orbach, is a librarian’s lot.”
Strange to think someone who was just here, isn’t. And hasn’t been since February 8th. Here are the obituary and memory book.
I do hope Quill & Quire makes a tribute to him.

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