Obituary of Marcia Ellen Shandling
LIFE SKETCH OF MARCIA ELLEN SHANDLING
Born: Sunday, 18th of April 1954, in Chicago, Illinois
Died: Sunday, 22nd of October 2023, at her home in Davenport, Florida
Funeral Services held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints Citrus Ridge Ward at 1001 Dunson Road, Davenport, Florida 33896
Interred at the Evergreen Cemetery, Davenport, Florida
Marcia Ellen Shandling, known to friends and family her whole life as “Marci,” was born in Chicago, Illinois, on Sunday, April 18, 1954, to Daniel Abraham Shandling and Fern Dolores Ex. A few years later she became the big sister to Mark Shandling, who loved his big sister very much. Mark and his wife Judy travelled from California, where they live not far from where Marci grew up, to celebrate Marci’s life with her friends and family in Florida.
After spending her early years in Chicago, Marci moved to Granada Hills, California, in the San Fernando Valley, just outside Los Angeles in 1967. It was here that Marci completed high school. She was a member of the marching band, playing the flute, and was fortunate enough to march in the Rose Bowl Parade in 1971, a fond memory she retained all her life.
Marci always had a great love for people, and was inspired to become a medical assistant after graduating from high school, a career that would carry her across the United States over the next thirty plus years. She actively worked as a medical assistant from the early 1970s up until 2006, and undoubtedly touched the lives of countless people with her kind and compassionate personality, as well as the smile that always seemed to be upon her face even during difficult times. Marci had a way of always making other feel happy and loved in her presence.
It was early in her career as a medical assistant that she felt called to move to Hawaii in the mid 1970s. While living and working in Honolulu, Marci, who had been raised in the Jewish faith, was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Marci recalled having several deeply spiritual experiences during this time that confirmed to her that the Church was true, and she was baptized on Saturday, August 30, 1986. Just over a year later, she received her endowment in the Laie Hawaii Temple on Saturday, September 19, 1987.
Marci had a great love for the Hawaiian Islands, and lived there until 1987, when she made the decision to move to Salt Lake City, Utah, so that she could expand her career as a medical assistant by working with pediatric patients for a few months. Following her time in Salt Lake City, Marci returned to Granada Hills, California, so that she could live with her mom and dad, Daniel and Fern.
Whilst living in California, Marci’s daughter Jessica Lynn Hokulani Shandling was born on December 4, 1999. Jessica was the light of Marci’s life, and what she called “her biggest blessing.” So great was her love of both Jessica and the Hawaiian Islands, that Marci wanted Jessica to have a Hawaiian middle name. Hokulani means “Heavenly Star” in the Hawaiian language, and Jessica certainly was Marci’s heavenly star. During Marci’s final weeks, Jessica was by her mother’s side twenty-four hours a day, massaging her legs, rubbing her back, and bringing her relief and peace. Marci spoke often of how these back rubs were “like heaven” from her own heavenly star, and brought her great comfort.
Jessica was recently married to Dalton Thomas Mullins, expanding Marci’s family, and bringing her even more joy. One of Marci’s goals was to be present at their wedding. She fought hard to achieve this goal, and wearing a beautiful blue dress that accented her silvery grey hair she happily saw Jessica and Dalton married in what was one of her happiest days ever. Marci loved Dalton like a son. And just like Jessica, Dalton was there with Marci during those final weeks, taking time away from work to help care for her. Marci always commented on how much she loved and appreciated all that Jessica and Dalton did for her in those final weeks.
Always the devoted daughter herself, Marci stayed with her father until his own death in 2013, before she felt the call of the Sunshine State. Marci packed her bags and drove cross country to Winter Haven, Florida, where she rented an apartment and became a member of the Winter Haven Ward where she developed many close friends who loved her dearly and are here today to celebrate her life with us.
In 2014, Marci bought her own home within the confines of the Citrus Ridge Ward, where she continued her growth and development in the Gospel. Always an advocate of family history, having done much work in the Laie Hawaii Temple during her time in the islands, she dedicated herself to making sure that she was sealed to her parents, and that the work for other family members was completed. She loved the temple, and attended frequently in her later years. So great was her love for the temple, and the work completed therein, that she became a temple worker in the Orlando Florida Temple, where she continued to serve with her characteristic love and good humor until her health made this impossible only a few weeks before her death. The temple always brought Marci joy and peace as she underwent treatment for her health issues. Several members of the Citrus Ridge Ward have commented that it seemed every time they went to the temple, there was Marci with a gigantic smile on her face to welcome them to the House of the Lord.
In addition to her daughter Jessica, and her son-in-law Dalton, Marci had three other boys. Her beloved dogs Copper, Peter, and Danny were an important part of her life right up until the end; laying by her side, they kept a near-constant vigil over their beloved master even in her final hours. Marci was also a loving dog mom to Ginger and Buffy, both of whom had already gone on to heaven to prepare a place for Marci, and who undoubtedly met her with wagging tails and loving licks. Marci loved her boys: walking them, having them sleep on her bed, and cuddling with them on the couch. During Marci’s final trip to the hospital, her goal was to get home to be with Jessica and Dalton, and to cuddle with the dogs who gave her so much love. This was a goal Marci achieved.
In addition to her love of family and the gospel, Marci also had a whimsical side to her, which was expressed in her love of Harry Potter. It was this love of Harry Potter that inspired her, after a career as a medical assistant, to spend her retirement years bringing joy to the guests of Universal Studios. She started in park services at Volcano Bay Water Park in 2019, eventually moving to attractions where she worked on the Hogwart’s Express. But Marci’s greatest joy during her time with Universal Studios was her time in Diagon Alley delighting visitors of all ages with her wand magic. Marci didn’t let her medical treatments get in the way of her magic. Rather, she chose wigs of different colours to go along with her alter ego, even further delighting guests, as well as her coworkers. Shortly before her passing, Marci received her five-year service pin and letter of thanks in recognition of her service to Universal Studios. Much like her service in the temple, Marci loved Universal and worked right up until several weeks before her passing.
Marci was a child of a loving Heavenly Father, and a woman devoted to her family, her friends, and her faith. She was beloved by all those who were fortunate enough to know her. Her stories of faith and triumph in the face of adversity, and always with a smile on her lips, and a quick joke about her circumstances, inspired not only those who knew her, but also the countless others who will hear of her journey of faith. Marci once said, with a smile on her face, “Don’t be sad. I am not here. That is just my body.” And even though she is no longer here with us physically, her example of faith and devotion continue to ring true.
Marci once said that she did not feel ready to go because she had more work to do in the temple. But even though Marci has passed on, we know that her work does continue, and we look forward to seeing her once again clothed and crowned in the eternal glory of a life well-lived. We love you, Marci.
Marci is survived by her daughter Jessica Lynn Hokulani Shandling Mullins and her husband Dalton Thomas Mullins; her younger brother Mark Shandling and his wife Judy Shandling, and their two sons William and Frank Shandling; and her beloved dogs Danny, Peter, and Copper. She was proceeded in death by her parents Daniel Abraham Shandling and Fern Dolores Ex Shandling.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marcia Shandling, please visit Tribute Store