Monday, March 10, 2008

Remembering Marie Jasinski


On Thursday last week about 70 friends and colleagues gathered at the Port Adelaide TAFE campus to bid farewell to Marie Jasinski. Marie had lived the last 20 years of her life living and working in Adelaide and there were a number of people who were not able to attend her funeral in Hobart and needed the opportunity to share memories and acknowledge her significant role in our lives.

Former MindMedia colleague Jeff Catchlove mc’d the event and appropriately used a Thiagi whistle to call us to order and introduce some levity into the occasion. We watched a video of Marie and Marty’s wedding, and Adrian Marron, TAFE Adelaide North Director, spoke on behalf of the institute, the wider department of DFEEST, and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. He told of being 'ambushed' by Marie at 8 o’clock one morning when he was compelled to listen to her tales of a recent overseas trip and all the exciting iniatives TAFE SA could implement based on her discoveries and new contacts. The last director of the now defunct Douglas Mawson Institute of TAFE, Mike Mulvihill, then spoke with eloquence and simplicity about how Marie had changed all our lives, and inspired a love of learning in us all. Mike also mentioned how he used to try and avoid sharing the stage with Marie because you were always upstaged - whenever Marie stood in front of a group of people she turned it an event of laughter and learning!

We then played a spoken tribute that Robby Weatherley, Marie’s long time friend and colleague from early LearnScope days, had sent down from NSW. This was followed by an opportunity for all present to share anything they wanted about Marie – a colleague from 1989 mentioned that even then Marie had shown by example and encouragement that one should always try and improve what you did.

Marie’s legacy to her colleagues in SA and beyond is clear. She was a living example of how one can be dedicated to teaching and learning, and her willingness to take risks and innovate to improve the lot of teachers and students was unremitting.

Marie’s husband Marty closed proceedings with a touching account of how Marie had added to his life – even if it had meant embracing chaos and complexity in the home! Marty added that Marie was one of those people who realized how much love had to be put into life to get it back. He then played a Photostory of Marie’s last months in Hobart. Marty – thank you so much from all of us for being part of this day. Though it was important that you were there to share an important event with yours and Marie’s colleagues, it could not have been easy.

After the ‘official’ business we all retired to the staff lounge for drinks and eats and more memories of wonderful Marie. Many took the opportunity of dropping some petals into the Port River as a final mark of remembrance to a remarkable person.

There is talk of a small mosaic being installed on the dock outside the Port Adelaide campus as a more permanent reminder of someone we don’t want to forget.

A sincere thank you all to those who attended. I think many of us now can move on – as Marty said – with any of Marie’s dreams that we care to take with us in our pocket. Marie had asked Marty to pass this message on to her colleagues. I think we can rightfully say that Marie would have approved of this event, and that is no mean feat. As Mike Mulvihill said, she was a class act.

Vale Marie. And from all of us who worked with you, thank you for your inspiration, support, guidance, and friendship. I don’t think any of those present last Thursday, and countless others around the country and the planet, will ever forget you.
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There are a number of photos of this event posted at http://flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/sets/72157604054284876/ If there are any images there that you would rather not be public please let me know and I’ll remove them.

(pic at top courtesy of Nancy White. Taken when Nancy was in Adelaide in 2006)

Others remember Marie