Hundreds gathered Saturday to remember Cleburne Chamber of Commerce President Cathy Marchel, who passed away Wednesday night after a two-year battle with cancer.
Marchel’s son, Tanner, spoke about his mother’s legacy and service to the community during the service at The Heights Church.
“I was going to get up here and talk about her legacy that she leaves and I found that, especially yesterday, when I was talking to everybody and they had their own story and they had their own joke my mom left with them,” he said. “When it comes to that I can’t sit here and talk about her legacy because her legacy lives in every single one of you, in a specific story or a specific time or day that she touched you and reached out and gave you a hand.
“I heard a quote last night that somebody said they’re not BFFs, they’re FFFs, which is fast friends forever. I believe it wholeheartedly. My mom never met a stranger.”
Marchel said that he remembers as a child attending church with his family and when it came time to leave, it took all four of them — Marchel, his father and two sisters — to get her out of the building.
“She just was a light,” he said. “She was a light not only in our family. She would put in the work in this community to make sure that it ran the way that she thinks it should run. Not only that would come home and be mom for however long we needed her to be. She put in the work. She put in the days, the hours, the minutes ... not only to me and my sisters but to all our friends and all the people that came into our lives and touched our lives.
“Even though it stops at the legacy being written, I know that the legacy will live on forever because of the people here that can share it, the people here that can live it and the people here that may take something that she gave to you and continue it on. That just makes me so happy and makes our family happy to know that she can live and that even when she’s not here, she’s here.”
Marchel began by thanking a list of people who helped the family over the last two years.
“We have so many people that we have to thank at this time,” he said.
After thanking God and his family, Marchel discussed an important doctor.
“We have to thank the doctors, the people who kept my mom here for as long as they did. Dr. Vasquez and her team at the cancer center in Fort Worth. She is the real MVP here. She is a light in this world and knowing how much she deals with people in this situation just shows in how much she loved my mom and loves our dad and our family. There’s nobody else in the world that we thought could have gave my mom a better chance. We’ll always be thankful to her and her team. There’s also a couple nurses and people here tonight that took care of my mom when she was in the hospital.”
The biggest portion of his thanks was for the Cleburne community.
“I know there is so much love in this room for my mom,” he said.
Marchel said growing up he thought his mom’s job was normal and it was just what you did.
“I volun-told for my mom,” he said with a laugh. “My sisters and my dad can attest to that. Not only did my put her heart and soul into this community. We did as well. We honestly thought because my mom was so in love with it that it was just second nature.
“We find ourselves now, being married and grown up, we find ourselves finding our way back here in any way possible, whether it’s just coming to visit or going to an event. Coming to see our family. I live here and I work here and I love the community I work in. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work and live. It shows in the last two years of support that y’all have poured out for us exactly what this community means and where it stands in my heart, as well as my family’s and my mom for sure.”
Marchel said he felt a calling to speak about six months ago.
“I’m not a man of talking. I love to sing in front of people,” he said. “I don’t talk in front of people like that my mom did. I felt a calling on my heart about six months ago to do this. We didn’t know if it was coming soon or if we were years out or how it’d be but I felt a calling on my heart to talk and leave some thoughts from somebody so close to her.
“I know where my mom is today, I know where she’s at. I know what she’s doing. I know what she did in the last days. She got to look at the face of our creator and listen to him say, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ That’s just wild to think about and it’s so cool to know that even though she had to go through a horrific thing to get there she got there and she’s there.”
Marchel closed his thoughts by asking for those at the funeral to share their memories about his mom.
“The biggest thing I want to leave you with is the legacy that she leaves with y’all and the memories you have, share them,” he said. “Even though she’s not here, she kind of set a blueprint of what she wanted this town to be and shared it with a lot of people and business owners in this town. Just because she’s not here anymore doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill that. Doesn’t mean we can’t continue to strive to be the best business owner or be the most involved in the community. Put the time back to give back to a community that’s given us so much to us, the business owners and people who decided to join the chamber since my mom took over 15 years, all 500-something of them. That’s the legacy she leaves. She went out, she grinded. She worked hard, she loved her family and she loved every single person that she came in contact with.”
The Cathy Marchel Community Heart Scholarship Fund has been set up in Marchel’s honor.
“It’s some way for us to keep her legacy alive,” Marchel said. “Not only that but helping kids that may have a want or a desire to be in community service or city service in their future. If that want to be just about anything that helps the community. We want to be able to help them get through their years in college and help them achieve their goals just like my mom would with anybody who walked through the door.”
Donations to the fund can be made at any Pinnacle Bank.