Former Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand dies at 81 (updated – funeral at 10 a.m. March 30)

Phyllis Marchand

Phyllis Marchand, the mayor of Princeton Township for 14 years, died on March 25 after battling cancer for more than 15 years. She was 81.

Marchand served on the Princeton Township Committee for 22 years, from 1987 to 2008. She also served on the boards of numerous charities, including McCarter Theatre, Community Options, and the D&R Greenway.

A New York City native, Marchand was the oldest of the four children of Morris and Charlotte Steinberg. After graduating from high school in New York City, Marchand earned her teaching certificate and bachelor’s degree in English from Skidmore College. She then went to work for Crowell-Collier Publishing in New York City. She married Sy Marchand in 1964 and the couple had three children, Michael, Deborah, and Sarah. The Marchands moved to Princeton in 1966. For many years, Marchand worked as a book indexer for a professor at Princeton University in connection with the Woodrow Wilson papers.

Marchand received numerous awards and honors for her public service, including the YWCA Princeton Woman of Achievement Award, the Elected Official of the Year from the New Jersey Municipal Managers Association, the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the President’s Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey League of Municipalities, and the Philip Forman Humanitarian Award from the American Jewish Committee. She was recognized by the New Jersey Association of Elected Women Officials for her service as president of that organization, and was honored for her work as mayor by the Princeton Chabad. In 2020, the D&R Greenway also honored her work to promote open space preservation.

During her tenure as mayor, Marchand could often be seen running along Nassau Street in Princeton. She ran in numerous races and completed 19 marathons — 16 New York City marathons, two Boston marathons, and one Philadelphia marathon. She was also known for her patriotic outfits at the annual Memorial Day Parade.

“Phyllis cared about Princeton and that was seen through all her years on the Princeton Township Committee, and all the different causes and groups she supported,” said Princeton Mayor Mark Freda. “It was always a joy to see her at meetings or events, and to talk to her and get her take on what was happening. Her family can be very proud of the legacy she leaves behind.”

Marchand’s graveside funeral will be for immediate family. A memorial celebration of her life will take place after the pandemic. Friends of Marchand have invited the community to gather together on the sidewalk of the four corners of the intersection of Witherspoon Street and Paul Robeson/Wiggins Street to bear witness to Phyllis’s final Princeton journey as the procession passes by to her final resting place in Princeton Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 30. The funeral procession will pass through between 10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. The livestream of the funeral is available here.

If you would like to make a donation in her memory, following are three of Marchand’s favorite charities:

The Marchand Espir Family Holocaust Education Fund – Holocaust education programs to ensure that the events of the Holocaust will not be forgotten or repeated.

The D & R Greenway – Preserves and care for land in the region and inspires a conservation ethic.

Homefront – Works to end homelessness in the region.

If you would like to share your memories of Phyllis with her family, please visit posthope.org.