Marilyn Luber and Robert Raymar see their wedding, a story 50 years in the making, as an opportunity to make even more connections – between their families, between friends, and between their loved ones and their favorite causes, including the Gilbert, Shirley, and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies at the Penn Libraries.
“We didn’t need things for the house,” said Luber of deciding to suggest their wedding guests give to their favorite non-profit organizations and a fund to invite their friends and family to be part of a remodel in their home in lieu of creating a gift registry. “We wanted to do something that reflected our interests.”
Luber and Raymar met in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 4, 1968, at an Independence Day celebration for ex-patriots. Luber was working a summer job selling watches and studying at the American College in Paris while Raymar was working for the International Labour Organization. They dated abroad and in the United States. They drifted apart, but the watch he bought from her – he sought her out at the shop the very next day after meeting – would help bring them back together.
Decades later, a Swiss watch display reminded Raymar of Luber. He found her online and added her email address to his contacts. After LinkedIn suggested connecting with his new contact, Luber and Raymar were suddenly back in touch. She remembered him well and he invited her for a drink ahead of an upcoming business meeting in Philadelphia.
“He walked in and it was like something happened. Forty-five years condensed," said Luber of Raymar's arrival at her home.
They began to get to know one another much better. Then, while on a trip to Morocco earlier this year, Raymar proposed at La Mamounia in Marrakech, the same hotel where his parents had married. Luber and Raymar wed on May 20, 2018.
Luber and Raymar share their love of bringing legacies full circle, or, turning those circles in spirals, as Raymar described of their hope for connecting loved ones with the causes they hold dear. In addition to the Gilbert, Shirley and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies, they invited guests to support organizations advocating on behalf of leatherback turtles and pandas, helping Princeton University undergraduates secure paying summer internships in the civic service through Bob's membership on the Board of Princeton Internships in Civic Service, Yale Law School – of which Bob is an alumnus – and the EMDR Foundation, which supports the promotion of research on the EMDR psychotherapy approach, of which Luber is a practitioner and author.
For Luber, connecting her loved ones with Gilbert, Shirley and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies not only strengthens support for the Gilbert, Shirley and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies, but also provides an opportunity to include her late father in her wedding celebrations.
The Lubers became Japanese art collectors unexpectedly after Shirley and Gilbert's 25th anniversary trip to Japan in 1970. Shirley Luber, an artist, and Gilbert Luber, a Wharton-grad CPA who was also a photographer, brought antique and modern Japanese prints back home with them. After seeing how well the art was received, they researched and collected more and, eventually, the family opened the Gilbert Luber Gallery, the first gallery in Philadelphia to handle Japanese art. Gilbert Luber's collection of related books was later donated to the Penn Libraries and the Gilbert, Shirley and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies was established to support the University’s commitment to providing access to special collections and advancing the field of Japanese studies.
Guests supporting the Gilbert, Shirley and Marilyn Luber Fund for Japanese Studies not only make a difference in the maintenance, promotion and scholarly use of the Shirley and Gilbert Luber Collection and support the acquisition of scholarly materials in the area of Japanese studies, but also honor the happy couple by investing in the growth of this intersection of art, scholarship, and global culture – interests woven into Luber and Raymar’s story and values.
Edited 4:15PM, 5/23/2018.