Phyllis L. Marchand, the previous mayor of Princeton., N.J., who turned the general public face of a deer-culling program that caused vociferous protest, moral debate and widespread press protection, died on March 25 at her house in Princeton. She was 81.

Her daughter Deborah Marchand mentioned the trigger was lymphoma.

Ms. Marchand was a public official in Princeton Township for 22 years and was appointed mayor for 13 nonconsecutive one-year phrases. That made her the township’s longest-serving chief govt, in response to data courting to 1900, and earned her the unofficial title “mayor for life” till she retired from authorities service in 2008 for well being causes.

She was extensively identified all through central New Jersey for her energetic involvement in points like reasonably priced housing, the humanities, social providers, ladies’s rights, Jewish training and particularly land preservation. Knowledgeable indexer, she listed the papers of President Woodrow Wilson and the letters of the author Samuel Johnson. She additionally ran at least 18 marathons, a sport she took up at the age of 42.

But it was Princeton’s deer-culling program in 2000 that introduced Ms. Marchand nationwide consideration.

Like many suburban areas all through the nation, Princeton was overrun with white-tailed deer. Their leap in numbers led to a whole lot of automotive collisions and a rise in harm to residential plantings, and householders turned more and more nervous in regards to the unfold of Lyme illness.

The deer felt so at house in Princeton that they took up residence in backyards and had been even giving start on porches. One crashed by way of the plate-glass window of a barber store. Another smashed by way of a windshield and landed in a baby’s lap, bloody and kicking.

Ms. Marchand signed a contract with a Connecticut wildlife administration agency referred to as White Buffalo. The firm’s sharpshooters shoot deer or lure them right into a lure, the place a internet is thrown over them earlier than they’re shot within the head with a bolt gun.

While this system had the assist of many city residents, it infuriated many others, who argued that the apply was barbaric and medieval. Opponents, who drew assist from celebrities together with the singer Patti Smith and the creator Joyce Carol Oates, mentioned that there have been extra humane ways to control the herd, reminiscent of with fencing, repellents and contraception, and that the suburbs had been no place for sharpshooters.

Ms. Marchand mentioned these alternate strategies of management had been ineffective, impractical and costly. And she mentioned she felt compelled to do one thing — different cities, she famous, had been being sued for not performing once they knew there was an issue.

With this system underway, tensions escalated. Critics employed personal detectives to comply with White Buffalo’s hunters, prompting the hunters to put on bulletproof vests for defense. Lawsuits flew. One demonstrator was accused of punching the township’s animal management officer, who took to carrying a bulletproof vest himself after his canine was poisoned and his cat crushed to demise. At one level, somebody positioned the entrails of a deer on the hood of the mayor’s automotive.

In the tip, city officers declared this system a hit as a result of it diminished collisions between deer and automobiles by 40 p.c. But it didn’t clear up the issue. The deer stay plentiful, and whereas Ms. Marchand had contracted with White Buffalo for less than 5 years, the city is still using its services.

“She felt like she was really doing the right thing,” her daughter Deborah mentioned in an interview. Far from being the savage that her critics portrayed, Deborah Marchand mentioned, her mom was humane and compassionate, including that “she felt that the deer were suffering; they were starving and getting hit by cars,” and that she believed prompt demise would spare them that trauma.

Then as now, the city donated a whole lot of kilos of venison yearly to native meals banks.

Phyllis Linda Steinberg was born on Jan. 3, 1940, in Manhattan, the oldest of 4 kids. Her father, Morris Steinberg, was a milliner. Her mom, Charlotte (Oill) Steinberg, was a instructor within the Bronx.

At Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Phyllis majored in English and was managing editor of the school newspaper. Like college students throughout the nation, she joined in sit-ins at the native Woolworth’s in solidarity with Black civil rights activists who had been refused service at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960.

She graduated in 1961 and went to work at the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company in Manhattan, the place she realized the way to index. She later took that ability to The Cowles Comprehensive Encyclopedia.

In 1964 she married Lucien Simon Marchand, a textbook salesman in Princeton. The household moved there in 1966, and her husband turned a procurement editor for scientific and mathematical journals.

Ms. Marchand quickly discovered work as an indexer at Princeton University for Prof. Arthur Link, who was the foremost authority on President Wilson and was enhancing his papers, a prodigious 35-year endeavor that The New York Times mentioned set the usual for the presentation of historic paperwork. She labored with him from the 1970s by way of the ’90s. She additionally undertook tasks for different authors, together with indexing a e book on the historical past of the Porsche and a biography of Jefferson Davis.

Along the best way, she joined varied neighborhood organizations. In 1986 she was requested to be a candidate for the township committee, Princeton’s governing physique, which is now referred to as the city council. A Democrat, she was the best vote-getter that 12 months and was appointed mayor by the committee, beginning in 1989.

She served as president of the New Jersey League of Municipalities and likewise helped arrange a sister city relationship between Princeton and Pettoranello, Italy, to have fun the contributions of Americans of Italian descent in New Jersey.

When she took up marathons, she would mull municipal issues on her runs.

“One of the things I loved about running was that I could think things out,” she instructed the weekly Princeton newspaper Town Topics in 2013. “I was on the planning board and ran by some of the sites under consideration.” She mentioned working additionally gave her the possibility to report back to the township engineer “where all the potholes were.”

She certified to run within the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon and likewise ran in Philadelphia.

She realized she had lymphoma in 2006. She served two extra years as mayor and continued her neighborhood work for a number of years after that.

In addition to her daughter Deborah, she is survived by her husband; a son, Michael; one other daughter, Sarah Marchand; and eight grandchildren.

Among the causes to which Ms. Marchand was most devoted was preserving open house. Until 2019, she was chair of the board of the Delaware and Raritan Greenway Land Trust, which is naming a meadow in her honor.

“Nature inspires you to understand that there’s something greater than us, here in this world,” she said in a video ready by the land belief. “So it’s critical right now for us to be advocating for the preservation of open space, paying attention to everything that we can that will help us leave this world a better place.”

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