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Marna Hayden

Marna Hayden, 84, died May 18 of a very aggressive form of cancer at the home she shared with her daughter in Lower Nazareth Township, Bethlehem, Penn., surrounded by her two children and grandchildren.

Marna was born in Boston, Mass., and graduated from Smith College. She lived in NYC for 10 years and was an actress, performing in off Broadway theatre, did social work, and then job training for corporations.

She got married, took time “off” to raise two children in northern NJ, where she was active in the community and headed the local school board. After 10 years, she divorced and moved to the Lehigh Valley, Penn., and got into banking, heading Human Resources for Nazareth National Bank / KNBT / National Penn for 27 years, and retired an executive officer.

She initially chuckled at the tagline of being “progressive”, until she learned that they had their own data center, which wrote their own software, which was used by much larger banks. She continued that trend by promoting diversity before it was in vogue, instituting generous programs allowing for employee training and continuing education, and implementing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in 1981.

After retiring from the bank, she founded her own HR consulting company, Hayden Resources Inc., helping clients as diverse smaller private companies and municipal utilities for 10 years. She was an avid world traveler and took 2-4 international trips per year after putting her two children through college. She visited every continent, except Antarctica, and had been to more than 75 countries.

She also published Conferences for Smarties, and was working on a personal memoir when she passed away. She invented her own trivia board game called Generations in an effort to promote intergenerational communication and understanding. She was an adjunct faculty member at several area colleges and universities. She was certified as a senior professional in human resources (SPHR & SHRM-SCP).

She was incredibly active in her field, and served SHRM as the Chair of the Lehigh Valley Chapter, the Penn. State Council, and was on the National, Certification, and International Boards of SHRM. She was also a frequent presenter of webinars and seminars since 2007.

She was passionate about investing in people, and serving the community in which she lived. She participated on the Boards and Committees of more organizations than can be enumerated here, including Good Shepherd, St. Luke’s Hospital, the Charter Arts School, and ArtsQuest.

She also volunteered her time for numerous organizations, visited prisons to consult with inmates to help prepare them to reenter the work world and to be successful, and she gave to numerous charities.

Her life centered on her business, teaching, mentoring, enjoying her expanded family and friends, community service, travel, and the arts.

She is survived by her two loving children, Alicia Holden Hayden (of Bethlehem) and Alex Draganiuk (of NYC), her sister, and three grandchildren. She lived a remarkable, full life, and will be dearly missed, but her impact is immeasurable. True to the actress in her, she left her audience wanting more.

Pursuant to her wishes, there will be no service, and she will be cremated and buried next to her mother at the William Richardson Hayden mausoleum in her hometown of Bedford, Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations would be welcomed for Lehigh Valley Good Shepherd Hospital, Smith College, or ArtsQuest, in their scholarship funds.