Marcella Maier was born in 1920 in St Moritz. She left school with a diploma in business administration and spent some time in Geneva and in Italy to improve her language skills. During WWII she volunteered as a farm worker and became a member of the Women’s Section of the Swiss army, before accepting a position as secretary in the St Moritz tourist office.
In 1947 she married Duri and they had four daughters within nine years; tragically, a fifth girl only lived for a few hours. Besides being a housewife and mother, she also helped in her husband’s carpentry business and worked as a journalist, first on a small scale, but by the 1970s, this became her main career. She wrote for local and regional magazines, published books and contributed to radio, both in German and Romansh, covering a wide range of topics she was passionate about, such as the environment, tourism, feminism and social issues.
The Mili Weber Haus in St Moritz was one of Marcella's main cultural causes:
In 1972 she was the first woman to be elected to the Council of St Moritz and in 1981 she was elected to the Grosser Rat von Graubünden (Grand Council of Grisons), a major achievement for a woman, considering that Swiss women had not had the right to vote for long at that time. She was highly respected for her clear political view, her social engagement and her ability to enthuse and mobilise others for her causes.
As a person, Marcella was well known for her modesty and for her wicked sense of humour.
Marcella being honoured at an official gathering
Even in later life she was never out without her beloved camera