Sedona Westerners President Marion Hadji-Agha
by Helen Ducharme
Marion was born and raised in East Germany. Her parents were physically active people and both her and her brother learned to a ski at a very young age. The family escaped to Cologne, West Germany when she was 15 years old where she served an apprenticeship at the Pharmaceutical Company Bayer, Leverkusen. In 1964 at age 18 she was able to obtain a green card and came to Nevada to establish work. Marion credits her parents with instilling the self-confidence which enabled her to undertake this venture alone. She had no knowledge of the English language when she embarked to the US.
After 6 months in Las Vegas she moved to Lake Tahoe. Here she immediately fell in love with the landscape and mountains, residing there for nearly 50 years. Over the course of her life she became a Merchant Marine and worked on the Luxury Liners SS Monterey and SS Mariposa, sailing to many fascinating ports of call. She worked as a hairdresser, sold real estate and lastly owned a Ladies Specialty Store. She and her husband, Hadji owned the boutique for 17 years and had great success.
Marion and Hadji were married in 1976. They had a mutual interest in their love of the outdoors, hiking and the beautiful surrounding scenery. In 1999, after much snow and many tough winters, Marion and Hadji visited Sedona for the first time and got “red rock fever”. They found the perfect parcel of land in the Village of Oak Creek and purchased it in a matter of days. They built their house in 2006 and have happily resided there since. Previously, her and Hadji loved to travel and did RVing along the West Coast with their dogs and cats. They travel less frequently now but remain very active, engaging in Yoga, Pilates and Zumba year round, in addition to being passionate hikers. Her home is decorated with lovely pieces of stained glass some of which Marion created herself. A lovely rose makes a beautiful centerpiece on the wall along with a hummingbird and a replica of the Cologne cathedral.
When asked how she got involved with the Westerners, Marion said it was after reading an article in the Red Rock News. She and Hadji decided to join and felt an immediate sense of camaraderie that she did not have in Tahoe after many years of residence. She also was inspired by the people, especially the Amblers, who were older but still able to hike many miles. In 2008 Marion became the Dogie Boss leading the Tuesday hikes. After that she was the Wagon Boss and responsible for setting up the monthly programs. She also won the energizer bunny award having logged 92 hikes in her first year with the Westerners. Now in September 2013 she will serve as the President of the Westerners. Marion is very excited about the upcoming year and gives praise to the new Women hike leaders who are responsible for adding more than 8 new hikes to the schedule. Of course, she adds, the male hike leaders are no slouches, either. She promises a vibrant upcoming year and is looking forward to it.
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website: www.sedonawesterners.org. You may also join by attending a monthly meeting, our next one will be on Thursday, September 12th at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road, Sedona.