Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Marjorie Reade - A Wonderful Woman

I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan almost 60 years ago. My father was a mathematics instructor at the University of Michigan until his failures to publish significantly forced him to leave (for Purdue University).

Marjorie Reade first knew me as a young baby. I remember her only from my young adulthood until 1988 or 1989 when I last visited her with my (at that time) young son Ben. She always, kind, loving, insightful and very intelligent! While I can't claim to have known her well, I always enjoyed her company.

I just learned that she died in August at the age of 92. What follows is the obituary I found of her.
Reade, Marjorie Marjorie Reade, loving spouse and mother, pillar of her church, Ann Arbor historian, Democratic Party activist, avid gardener, community volunteer and celebrated hostess, died on August 17. She was 92. Born in North Dakota as Marjorie Tibert, she grew up on a remote farm before mechanization and long before electrification. As a child, Marjorie cried when a tornado destroyed her father's crops and her 4-H winning garden. She scraped mud out of the wheels of bogged down buggies and cars, saddled and rode horses or walked five miles to get the mail, cooked for teams of field hands, swept swarms of grasshoppers from the house even as the insects ate the broom, and survived the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and tuberculosis. Yet, Marjorie went on to have Albert Einstein at her first wedding reception, to stand next to John F. Kennedy as he announced his intent to form a Peace Corp at the Univer-sity of Michigan, and to accept an invitation to meet Hillary Clinton at the Clinton White House along with her husband Maxwell. Marjorie graduated from high school in her early teens. She later joined the wartime secretarial pool and was selected as the assistant to two admirals, helping each earn another star. Marjorie was asked to join the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency but she declined. Instead, she married Ann Arbor native Charles L. Dolph, who was a naval officer completing his doctorate at Princeton. Later the couple moved to Ann Arbor, where Marjorie's husband produced ground breaking work on radar and led the Project Mercury plasma flow studies for the Atlas rocket nose cone, which carried astronaut John Glenn to the first earth orbit. Following the tragic deaths of three of their four children, Marjorie and Charles were divorced, but not before the couple agreed to deed Dolph Park to the City of Ann Arbor as a wildlife refuge. In 1967, Marjorie married Maxwell O. Reade, a U-M professor of mathematics whose work had helped end the submarine threat to allied convoys in the North Atlantic during World War II and who later received the university's top teaching award. Together they traveled around the world, cultivating their language and cooking skills and laying the foundation for an expanding scholarship program for promising mathematicians. Avid Wolverines, they held season tickets for over four decades, never missing a home game. Marjorie was active in the First Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Ann Arbor, managing the church's financial affairs and serving as a beloved parishioner and organizer. Marjorie co-authored the book Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan with Susan Wineberg and was named "Preservationist of the Year" in 1993 by the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission. Throughout her prolonged illness, her ninety-four-year-old husband Maxwell was at her side, cooking and cleaning, encouraging her to eat, reading The New York Times aloud, and working with the round-the-clock aides who also fought along side of Marjorie's children to prolong her life. Marjorie is survived by her husband Maxwell, her son, Lawrence Dolph and his wife Lynn Nybell who did so much for her during the final months; by Marjorie's granddaughter Christine Dolph and spouse Brian Wachutka, and grandson John Dolph; by Maxwell's children Michael, Tim and daughter-in-law Joy, and Allison Reade; and by Maxwell's grandchildren, Francis, Christopher and Wesley Reade. A memorial service will be held at 3pm Monday, August 23 at the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Ann Arbor. Donations may be made in Marjorie Reade's name to the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; or to the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 South Fifth Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

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