Ellen Marshall, hostess in the Newspaper Agency Corp. lunchroom, which serves both the Deseret News and Tribune staffs, will attend the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., May 7 _ for the 39th consecutive year.
It is an event she looks forward to all year _ and saves for, because, she says, it is an expensive one-week vacation.
Nevertheless, she wouldn't miss it for anything.
"I bet a little on a few horses and I enjoy watching the races _ there are 10 races throughout the afternoon _ but the most fun is just being there and enjoying the crowd and the festivities and seeing my friends and relatives."
Marshall grew up in French Lick Springs, Ind., about 58 miles north of Louisville in Orange County, Ind. It was and still is a resort and hotel community where rich and famous people from all over the world go to have fun and relax.
She said she worked in many of the resorts and hotels as a girl and still has relatives and friends in and around French Lick Springs and Louisville.
When she returns to Louisville this year she will stay, as usual, in the sumptuous Seelbach Hotel, but, she said, she will seldom be there since she will be out visiting most of the time.
Even at the Derby, she hardly ever uses her $150 seat and spends much of the afternoon walking about looking for friends. "People see me and say, `I thought you were dead and here you are, still alive and well. I'm glad,' and I tell them I'm glad to see them, too."
A few years ago, the governor of Kentucky made Marshall a Kentucky colonel, and this entitles her to invitations to all sorts of breakfasts, dinners and special events during the week preceding the Derby. In addition, she gets dozens of invitations to friends' and relatives' parties and breakfasts.
"I love to dress up, and boy oh boy do you ever dress up at the Derby. Everybody wears their finest. And hats! You should see the hats wom-en wear. I wear a hat, too. I love it."
An NAC employee for the past 20 years, Marshall came to Utah with her husband, Ted, in 1949. He was employed at the Hotel Utah until his death five years ago, and she was employed at several department stores in downtown Salt Lake City until she joined NAC.
A life member of the NAACP, past grand matron of the Eastern Star in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, and active in the First United Methodist Church, Marshall is well-known to Deseret News, Tribune and NAC employees as a loving and generous person who is always in a good humor.
An avid newspaper reader and student of current events, Marshall enjoys working in a news atmosphere, she said, where "what's happening is what's on people's minds and in their conversation."