Bye Marione

Marione, Bucket and RIver - Beltane 2006

Marione, Bucket and River – Beltane 2006

When I came to community 16 years ago Marione was doing several of the jobs I was interested in taking on.  She was managing the visitor program.  She ran the movement support area of the communities activities, which is responsible for helping both the activism of members and work done by outside groups to make the world a better place.  She also was responsible for orienting new members of Twin Oaks for the first 6 months after their arrival.  Over the first few years of my membership, I would work with her in all these areas and slowly take her place as manager.

Yesterday morning at 2:03 AM Marione passed.

Marione loved singing, here shown with Craig

Marione loved singing, here shown with Craig

I have many fond memories of Marione, one of earliest was her important work at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning Georgia.  It was 1999 and the public effort to close this terrorist training facility sponsored by the US government was in full swing.  [Here I am using the classical definition of terrorism where non-military persons are deliberately targeted torture and death to advance political agendas.  This is exactly what the military and political graduates of the School of the America’s do, paid for by our tax dollars.  Graduates include Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.]  Marione and Ione organized a group of Twin Oakers to go down to the protest.

Marione at Kat Kinkade's funeral reception 2009

Marione at Kat Kinkade’s funeral reception 2009

Marione and Ione had gone the previous year and been arrested.  This was significant because the military base desperate to stop the protests had decided  to dramatically increase the jail sentences of repeat offenders.  Several nuns and priests who had been arrested more than once in the months leading up to the large fall 1999 action had received 6 month sentences for simple trespass.

Dianne and MArione circa 1993

Dianne and Marione circa 1993

There were hundreds of people risking arrest at the 1999 action, and thousands of people involved.  But all eyes were on the about 30 individuals, including Marione and Ione who were risking their second arrest at the site.  It was a huge gamble.  The military had already run almost a dozen people thru the harsher penalties of 6 months or more in prison for repeat offense trespass.

marione portrait

Marione was already about 70 at this point, we were convinced a half year jail sentence would hurt her health at least.  Ione was older, this was not an action without risk.  But they were both clear they were going to do it, regardless of the consequences.  I remember seeing her as a hero and crying when she was arrested.

Fortunately, their action broke the bases will.   They called the militaries bluff and forced them to back down from  imprisoning repeat offenders.  And Marione and Ione received the appropriate heroes welcome when they were soon released.

In 2006 she flew out on a helicopter from the commune, because of poor health. She would live another 7 years in a worthwhile state.

In 2006 Marione was flown by helicopter from the commune, because of poor health. She recovered and lived 8 another  years.

Marione died gracefully.  Every day for the last week or so people have gone over to sing at her place.  When Ione called her on the phone, she was not speaking but broke out into a huge smile.  People were with her around the clock for the last few days.  Some of her family was here already.

The new hospice (Apple Tree) worked well to support people in there last stage of life, while keeping it’s other functions separate.

Death is never easy. The best you can hope for is to find it in as supportive environment.  Marione had this and I am proud of our ability to offer this to her.

Bye, Marione.  There is much to appreciate in you.

A collection of different pictures of Marione


About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

11 responses to “Bye Marione”

  1. moonraven222 says :

    Another elder gone.

    She was a gentle presence and I remember her fondly.

  2. keenantwinoaks says :

    I like what you wrote, Paxus, and I really appreciate the photos of Marione.

  3. FemmeFire says :

    Sending condolences and peace to your heart.

  4. santalorena says :

    This is a shock to me. I haven’t been keeping up with Twin Oaks news lately, so I hadn’t known Marione’s health was in decline. Some of my happiest memories included her. We worked together a bit on the movement support team. She was always so supportive. I fondly remember her campaign to get more of us to join her in her regular letter-writing efforts. It was her strong belief that handwritten, snail-mailed letters to public officials carried more weight than online messages.

    Last week, I had to put my beloved baby girl, my puppy Nibbles, to sleep. After 16 years of companionship and many adventures–including our four years at Twin Oaks, I’m obviously heartbroken. But apparently my heart wasn’t destroyed, as another big chunk just shattered.

    One thing gives me solace, and that’s the thought that Nibbles will be there to greet Marione when she crosses over the Rainbow Bridge for a visit. She thought highly of my little girl (I’m picturing the smile that would come over her face whenever she saw my cherished friend and her voice saying, “oh, Nibbles.” I’m sure there were many other animals Marione loved during her long life.

    One of the images that stands out in my mind, and will forever, was the sight of Marione cleaning the office on a hot day, topless. That, and Piper dancing topless to contemporary music at ZK during our dance parties, always brought a smile to my face.

    A 70+ year old woman baring her breasts in public is such a radical thing in our sex-phobic, body-shaming, ageist culture (which I’ve found ludicrous since I was a little kid), so it always made me happy when I saw them exercising their right to be comfortable, a right most men just take for granted. And those acts also served as a model for younger women to know it’s okay, at least at Twin Oaks, to take advantage of that freedom, without fear of ridicule and scorn.

    Rest in peace Marione. You are one of my role models and have always been an inspiration—to me and to countless others whose lives you touched.


    PS: I can’t even tell you how long it’s taken me to write this, having to wipe away all these tears.

  5. Kenna J. Josephene says :

    Thank you for the cry. I wondered who was airlifted out back in 2006, but I couldn’t find that information. I was worried that it was Marione. I’m glad to hear that she recovered and continued. I hope she felt at the end that she had lived enough life. She was a real hero to me, too. I hope that one day I will feel that I have lived as purely devoted to my ideals as Marione did. I’ve done a pretty good job so far but have a long way to go before I’m at her level. I’ve remembered words of hers many times as an inspiration. I’m sure that these casual things she said never occurred to her as words that would inspire someone. This is a lesson to me that we inspire through our being more than through our words. Good-bye, Marione. I hope I get to be with you again someday.

    • santalorena says :

      Your comment reminded me of another memory of Marione (and Steve). If I’m recalling the tall tale correctly, I seem to remember (though it was before my time at Twin Oaks) the story of their hurricane excursion on the South Anna River and subsequent rescue. By helicopter. And she was no spring chicken then either! What a remarkable woman.

  6. Will says :

    My dear brother John died six days ago, so please don’t think I’m being insensitive when I skip the real content of your post to make this plea: Please, please, please correct this to show that Manuel Noriega was a Panamanian dictator, not Nicaragua. Nicaragua hasn’t had a dictator since Somoza.

  7. teaganblackburn says :

    I got arrested with her that day! I missed Seattle because I always went down to GA every November to get arrested for SOA. I always felt like I knew certain Twin Oakers from something before 2002…

  8. Tree Bressen says :

    Thanks for posting the eulogy and photos. When Valerie told me Marione had gone into hospice and that she and others were singing to her, i tried to join in over the phone, but was unable to arrange it before she passed.

    Marione and i were co-counseling partners back when i lived at Acorn. Encountering someone in that way you are aware of their deeper struggles, yet she did so many wonderful things. In addition to the activism mentioned, i think of her leading cooperative games. I did not stay in touch with her after i moved away, but was always happy to see her again when i would come back. I remember sharing a meal on the ZK patio when i visited last year. She was a quiet presence compared to some, but a pleasant and welcome one. I’m sorry she’s gone.

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