“I used to love to go down to the pier with her behind our house at the Edgewater Hotel on Wrightsville Beach where she’d take me crabbing. She was the only one who would make me walk! I could always convince everyone else to carry me. She always encouraged me.” Saffo says although Marks had mastered social grace and was a skilled contender in the public realm — spending many a night dancing at the Lumina Pavilion and many days posing for the camera and attending tennis dates and lunches — that she longed to be left alone. “She had a shyness about her looks. I think she longed to be more normal,” Saffo says. She would spend hours walk-ing on the beach in front of her grandmother’s beach house. She’d swim alone beyond the break or across Masons Inlet to Figure Eight Island. She was an avid reader and was known for her extensive vocabulary. She also loved to go crabbing and fishing with her Uncle Habib. “She just loved this place,” Lefler says. “All she wanted to do was be on the beach alone. But, it was hard for her to keep the entourage away.” Marks was encouraged by her grandmother to pursue pageants and a modeling career. She par-ticipated in her first pageant at age 16 in Washington, DC, and later won several. She pursued a modeling career with Merle Norman Cosmetics and was called to Washington, DC, for several Hollywood screen tests. But, she was unwilling to relocate. “She wouldn’t leave her family,” 18 WBM may 2014 Lefler says. “She didn’t want to leave the beach.” When Marks was 19, her mother was struck by a dune buggy on Wrightsville Beach, rushed to Babies Hospital in a coma, never awakened and died shortly thereafter. Having always had a kinship with her grandmother, their relationship then became vital. Marks attended Duke University School of Nursing after high school and settled back in Wilmington upon graduation. After many years of courting, beachbites When Baby’s grandmother Julia Akel, above left, came to Wilmington in 1900, at the turn of the century, she introduced fur coats from Lebanon. Right: Julia and Baby in 1950. The ingénue Katherine Dehler was honored by the American Legion (above), armed services (above right), and during the North Carolina Azalea Festival (right), earning accolades for her quiet beauty from Washington, DC, to Wilmington, NC, between 1940 and 1950. Dressed as a bride posed on a diamond, she tops an Azalea Festival parade float sponsored by The Julia, her grandmother’s boutique, and Kingoff’s Jewelers.
Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2014
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