Rodger Maro, 73, church organist

Posted: July 19, 2013

Rodger W. Maro, 73, of Lindenwold, longtime organist for an Episcopal church and a Roman Catholic church, both in Camden County, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Sunday, June 23, at Keystone Hospice in Wyndmoor.

From 1998 "until he ended his time with us on Palm Sunday" 2013, Mr. Maro worked part-time as both choir director and organist at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in Chews Landing, the Rev. Margaret Sterchi, its rector, said Wednesday.

She would pick the hymns for her services, she said, but "what he had more fun with" was arranging the music for the choir, five people strong.

"It was something he excelled at," she said, "taking the music and making it singable for our small choir.

"As small as they are, they blend well and do an amazing job."

And, she said, "they would shine because of the work he did."

Mr. Maro was also organist at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Gloucester City.

On Sundays, Sterchi said, "he would play at the early service at St. Mary's and then come and play at our service at 10 o'clock."

Msgr. James P. Curran, pastor at St. Mary's, said Mr. Maro had been there from the 1980s until four months ago, when climbing to the organ loft while carrying his oxygen supply, became too much.

"He sang and played at 7:30 Mass every Sunday," Msgr. Curran said, as well as weddings and funerals.

"He was very dependable. Always here. No matter what the weather was. . . . That's the kind of guy he was."

Sterchi said that before the mergers of Catholic parishes in South Jersey, "they had more than one organist at various parishes and he would rotate through them.

"Once they merged, some of those opportunities for him disappeared."

So in recent years, "he was closest to the people in my choir," she said.

"In the last several months, they would take food to him and make sure he was OK when he was living by himself," before moving to the hospice. "They provided a family to him."

Sterchi said Mr. Maro told her that "at one point, he actually played in nightclubs as just a pianist."

"But that went away" with the passing of softer sounds at some clubs, she said.

Born in Camden, he graduated from Camden Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's and then a master's degree in music composition at colleges whose names are lost to memory, his son, Carlo, said.

Private piano teaching was his principal occupation, his son said, at his home and at the students'.

"He took a lot of pride in his teaching," he said, "He taught a lot of my friends, growing up, how to play piano."

Besides his son, Mr. Maro is survived by daughter Corinne, three grandchildren, and his former wife, Maria Pickard.

A reception was set from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, 1720 Old Black Horse Pike, Chews Landing, N.J. 08012, before a 1:30 p.m. funeral service there. Interment is to be private.

Donations may be made to St. John's.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mccannhealey.com.


Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134, wnaedele@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.

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