Home economist Patricia Marvin answered questions for 22 years on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

Home economist Patricia Marvin answered questions for 22 years on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

Provided

Patricia Marvin, who helped harried Thanksgiving cooks on Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, dead at 96

For 22 years, she did her part to make the holiday meal work out for others. One time, she recognized the voice of the caller. It was her grandson who was away at college.

Come Thanksgiving time, Patricia Marvin loved talking turkey to home cooks.

She was their kitchen therapist, head chef or substitute mom, whatever they needed.

That meant she always had gobble-y good stories to share at her own Thanksgiving table about the calls she and others handled on the Naperville-based Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at (800) 288-8372.

Like the one about the woman who bought a pre-made Thanksgiving feast every year and passed it off as her own — only to call in, panicked, when her child said his homework assignment was to help make the holiday meal.

Others asked the Butterball home economists which side of the turkey the breast is on and whether they could defrost a big turkey in a small microwave.

One time, a man living in a warm-weather state wanted to know whether he could cook his turkey by just setting it out on the bow of his boat.

And then there were those who’d forget to remove the giblets bag, which includes the gizzard, heart and liver. After looking inside the oven, one told the hotline: “My turkey grew a tumor inside.”

Mrs. Marvin, a longtime resident of Willowbook and Brookfield, died in August at 96 at Franciscan Village in Lemont, according to her son Tim. She worked on the famed turkey hotline for 22 years, from 1988 to 2010, until her mid-80s.

Patricia Marvin with her grandson Jeff.

Patricia Marvin with her grandson Jeff.

Provided

To mark her years of service, the company presented her with jewelry pins in the shape of wishbones.

The Talk-Line has had a few changes since it started in 1981. It’s grown from six home economists to more than 50 people. In addition to questions by phone, cooks can get advice via email or online chats or by texting (844) 877-3456. They can contact Butterball through Amazon Alexa, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. They can get help in Spanish.

It will reopen Nov. 1 and operate until Dec. 24, lending an ear and a hand to an estimated 4 million cooks in the United States and Canada, according to Butterball.

Mrs. Marvin, who worked at various times for food giants Swift, Eckrich and ConAgra, was involved in some of the meetings at which the hotline was organized, according to her son. “She also said the men took credit for it,” he said.

She grew up Patricia Daily in Riverside, where she attended St. Mary’s Catholic School. She went to high school at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park and liked to go swim at Centennial Beach in Naperville.

Mrs. Marvin decided to attend Mundelein College because it was an all-women’s college.

“She felt the professors would pay attention to her,” according to her son, who said she studied home economics.

Patricia and William Marvin on their wedding day in 1949.

Patricia and William Marvin on their wedding day in 1949.

Provided

She met her future husband William at a dance at the Melody Mill Ballroom in North Riverside. They were married from 1949 until his death in 1995. He worked in insurance and had an accounting business on the side for physicians. Every Christmas, she’d make fruitcakes that he would give to the doctors.

Mrs. Marvin served up hearty Sunday dinners of roast beef or rump roast and mashed potatoes.

“We always tried to eat together,” her son said.

And her family said she made tasty pies and cakes and, for Easter, hot cross buns.

“She always said you eat with your eyes,” her daughter-in-law Doreen said.

Patricia Marvin cooking with her great-granddaughter Savanna.

Patricia Marvin cooking with her great-granddaughter Savanna.

Provided

Despite her years of helping people get their turkey cooked just right, that was a dish Mrs. Marvin couldn’t partake of herself.

“She became allergic to poultry after a surgery,” her son said.

Among those whose calls she answered to help them navigate the intricacies of producing a perfect Thanksgiving meal was her grandson Eric. At the time, he was a student at Western Michigan University and wasn’t able to come home for Thanksgiving. He knew about the hotline through his grandmother and called for help to make his holiday dinner, and, as luck would have it, she was the one who took his call.

They recognized each other’s voices right away.

“Is this Eric?” she asked.

“Is this Grandma?” he said.

“My mother taught my brother and I and the grandkids how to cook,” Tim Marvin said.

Mrs. Marvin also was an expert seamstress. In the early 1970s, she operated her own fabric store and sewing school — the Lingerie Boutique & Sewing Center in Berwyn, where she taught clients how to make fine lingerie and swimsuits.

Mrs. Marvin also is survived by her son William, her sister Marge Koeller, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Services have been held.

2 FAVORITE RECIPES

Patricia Marvin kept her favorite recipes on cards, like this one for pumpkin pie, complete with stains from use.

Patricia Marvin kept her favorite recipes on cards, like this one for pumpkin pie, complete with stains from use.

Patricia Marvin’s recipe for raspberry bars.

And this one — Patricia Marvin’s recipe for raspberry bars.

The Latest
Right-hander allowed four home runs against Yankees Saturday
At least 28 people were wounded, including one person who died, in shootings in Chicago from about 9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday afternoon, according to police.
On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped Bobby Franks and bludgeoned him to death. The “thrill killing,” one of many to be dubbed “the crime of the century,” remains a puzzle.
“Guys have stepped up, but we’re not playing our best baseball,” reliever Hayden Wesneski said.
Schauffele closed with a 6-under 65 to beat Bryson DeChambeau, entertaining to the very end with a 10-foot birdie on the 18th hole for a 64.