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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.