Bath resident Jeannine Marks retires as Stewart’s Caring Place executive director

by Laura Bednar

Jeannine Marks retired as executive director of Stewart’s Caring Place in Fairlawn after being involved with the organization since its inception in 2004.

Stewart’s Caring Place is a nonprofit center that provides free services and programs for individuals and families on their cancer journey. These include support groups, holistic care, fitness classes and other community resources. Marks helped open and develop the cancer wellness center. She began as a board member and later became a volunteer and donor before taking the helm as executive director for eight years.

Marks had a personal connection to the center’s mission, having lost two siblings to cancer.

“I wanted to advocate for people on this journey and help them advocate for themselves,” Marks said. “It’s therapeutic to do what I did for family members.”

During Marks’ tenure, Stewart’s increased its fundraising and budget by 900%, according to a press release from the center’s executive board.

The center has grown from serving three counties to serving 18 and through a capital campaign, opened a new headquarters in 2020.

“The new building gives us the ability to work with more individuals on this journey,” Marks said. “Stewart’s has become an integral part of the community after diagnosis.” She added that oncologists and other specialists have sent cancer patients to Stewart’s as part of their overall treatment plan.

What Marks will miss most about her work is getting to know patients and their families. “It’s an honor to be part of this organization and the lives of those who come through our doors. We know they trust us and we’re going to be there for them,” Marks said.

She credits her staff with Stewart’s success and is excited for the center’s future. “Part of being a leader is knowing when it’s time to hand it off,” she said.

In retirement, Marks, a 26-year Bath resident, said she plans to spend more time with her husband and three grown children, all of whom are Revere grads. She won’t have much down time, because she and her husband, Steve, are the founders of the Akron Marathon.

Much like Stewart’s Caring Place, the marathon was started as a grass roots organization. Marks said she and her husband are both runners and wanted to galvanize the community and give the race national and international attention, as well as promote health and wellness.

The marathon now includes three types of races: an 8K/1 mile, half marathon/10K, and a full marathon/half marathon/team relay. The marathon has raised over $6 million for nonprofits, according to the organization’s website.

“We wanted to build a legacy of giving,” said Marks.

This is the 19th year for Stewart’s and the 20th year for the marathon. “I will always somehow be involved with both to support the causes so close to me,” Marks said. ∞