By  on January 30, 2002

DALLAS -- Even after his death, Stanley Marcus's famous attention to detail lived on.

The elegant, spirited celebration of his life held here Monday afternoon was partly planned about six years ago by Marcus himself, who died Jan. 22 at the age of 96. He chose the site for the ceremony, indicated who he wanted to speak and asked that his friend Bobby Short sing "Happy Days Are Here Again."

"Despite his age, he was the more au courant than any other man we know," said Liener Temerlin, a confidante of Marcus, in his opening remarks to the full house of 1,800 gathered at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center here. "His humor is legendary, and his moral and ethical compass forever pointed in the right direction. He forever inspired us and challenged us to be better than we are."

Temerlin cited Marcus's generosity in supporting the arts, the underprivileged, education and medicine, and reasoned that Marcus's most individual characteristic was the way he looked at the world.

"Stanley saw poetry, and the poetry of the world," Temerlin asserted. "How fortunate we all were that in our time he came our way."

In his remarks, Richard Marcus wryly referred to his father's comment, published 10 years ago, that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes "flushed down the toilet."

"He was never shy about offering advice or criticism," Marcus told the assembly. "As many of you know, his advice was not always solicited and not always taken. His ashes were not flushed down the toilet."

Marcus had asked that one of his grandchildren speak. Jeannette Smith Wilson poignantly represented his 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

"We called him Stanley," she began, "because when he became a grandfather 43 years ago at the the age of 53 he felt he was too young to be called by a traditional grandfather name like Pappy."

Wilson pointed out that her grandfather was a great communicator, via traditional and e-mail, and since he very much appreciated a well-written thank-you note, she penned a final one for him.

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