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Maureen M. Carmen, editorial assistant at The Inquirer, dies at 74

Ms. Carmen was a mainstay of the Inquirer's features department from 1986 to 2005 when she retired. She answered the phones, and once had the chance to befriend film actor Patrick Swayze.

Maureen M. Carmen
Maureen M. CarmenRead moreCourtesy of the Carmen Family

Maureen M. Carmen, 74, of Secane, formerly of Lansdowne, an editorial assistant at The Inquirer for almost two decades, died Friday, Oct. 2, of respiratory failure at Kindred Hospital in Havertown.

Ms. Carmen had been ill with congestive heart failure for the last few years and was at Kindred for rehabilitation, said her longtime friend Marietta Dunn, a retired assistant managing editor for the Inquirer copy desk.

“We formed a great friendship outside work,” Dunn said. “The nice thing was at Christmas 2019, she gave a party in her apartment and all of her friends came. It was a farewell, but we didn’t know it at the time.”

Born in West Philadelphia, Ms. Carmen was the daughter of Robert P. and Margaret V. Carmen.

She graduated in 1964 from Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill. The school has since become Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School.

She worked for 19 years starting in 1986 as an editorial assistant in the newspaper’s features department. Her duties included checking the events listings that appeared in the Weekend section, making sure the comics arrived in time for publication, reviewing expense reports, planning office gatherings, and answering the phone. She took a buyout in 2005 and retired.

“She helped the features department run smoothly,” Dunn said. “She was efficient as well as being fun.”

Ms. Carmen had a mellifluous telephone voice and tended to make friends with those who called looking for editors and reporters.

One caller happened to be the movie actor Patrick Swayze. “She was a huge fan of Patrick Swayze,” Dunn said. “He enjoyed talking to her so much he made sure she got a signed poster. She took it with her to each apartment when she moved. When he died, she was devastated.”

Ms. Carmen was known as “a real doer in the features department and friendly with everybody,” said Dunn. “People would stop at her desk just to chat with her because she was fun to talk to and just kind of lit up the place."

For many years, Ms. Carmen was the director of the Marple Community Theater, since closed, and also enjoyed acting and directing plays. She had many friends in the theater community and kept up with them for years.

Drama served for Ms. Carmen as a creative outlet, said her sister Kathleen Carmen. Her family laughingly referred to Ms. Carmen as “our actress” because she tended to be theatrical in everyday life.

Ms. Carmen was the oldest child in her large family. “She took our youngest brother, Brendan, under her wing," her sister said. "She made herself a parent to her nieces and nephews. She doted on them because she never had any children.”

She read thousands of books, including the romance novels that arrived for review in the features department. “Who reads romance novels?” her siblings would ask. “I do,” Ms. Carmen replied. She also loved working crossword puzzles.

Besides her sister Kathleen, she is survived by siblings Peggy Ann Kirkpatrick, Patty Courson, Mariellen Carmen Harris, Robert P. Carmen, Bernadette Noel, and Brendan Carmen, and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be from 10 to 10:50 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, at St. Anastasia Church, 3301 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass. Those attending should wear a mask and observe social distancing. Private interment is at Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent DePaul Society c/o St. Anastasia Church, 3301 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, Pa. 19073.