PHOTOS COURTESY HIERONYMUS FAMILY
THE FISH LADY
The remarkable story of the woman
behind a famous seafood family
WBM july 2020
BY SIMON GONZALEZ
MARLENE HIERONYMUS has just watched
a movie about Judy Garland, the Hollywood
icon who tragically died of a drug overdose a
couple of weeks after her 47th birthday.
“She lived a horrific life,” Hieronymus says. “She was
made to entertain. She was lonely.”
Hieronymus likes to learn about the lives of interesting
people. She sometimes watches movies about them, but
usually it is through books.
“I like to read autobiographies,” she says. “It’s interesting
to see how lives are constructed.”
Perhaps she’s interested in them because she can relate.
Hieronymus has led quite the remarkable life herself, one
that would be worthy of a book or film. The synopsis
surely would gain at least strong regional interest:
A girl is born in West Virginia in 1948, in the wildly opti-mistic
time after World War II when anything seems possible.
Her father is in the Air Force, and her mother works for the
FBI. She dreams of being a lawyer, but instead becomes an
old-fashioned telephone operator, a Piedmont Airlines stew-ardess
in the days when that word wasn’t politically incorrect,
a fishing and seafood market pioneer, a restaurateur, a celebrity
chef and a published author.
Marlene Hieronymus with a couple of her seafood dishes in
1974. Opposite: The Hieronymus brothers — Cordy, Harvey,
George and Glenn — became successful commercial fisher-men.
Their fleet included the shrimper Hieronymus Brothers
III on the Intracoastal Waterway in front of Hieronymus
Brothers Seafood, former site of the Sea Bag on Airlie Road.