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.

There are a number of photos of this event posted at 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


Thiagi said...

This is Thiagi, reading the blog from a hotel room in Palo Alto, California. All of my colleagues (Lucy, Matt, Raja, Ellen, and others) who were inspired by Marie frequently talk about her zany, playful attitude toward life and learning and her amazing ability to treat every human being as a unique individual. Personally, Marie introduced me to a wonderful group of friends and colleagues in Australia (including several Mikes, Robby, Marty, and Jenny). We all plan to continue Marie's positive approach to making the world safe for laughter and learning.

Nancy White said...

Thanks so much for sharing the stories of the day, Michael. When the mosaic project gets underway, count on me to chip in! said...

Thanks Michael,

When I was at Marie's 'send- off' in Hobart it felt like there were so many others who were there in spirit, but weren't visible, so it's great you, too, have all had the chance to come together in her honour.

Lovely photos :o)

Marie is unforgettable! It must've been close to her birthday, too!

Val Evans said...

Thanks Michael for sharing this with us all. Marie certainly added zest to whatever event she facilitated or participated in. I feel very privileged to have been her friend and her colleague.

The mosaic idea sounds fantastic -pictures please when completed.

Unknown said...

I also felt a great deal of depth to Marie's presence if only for the fleeting moment I was afforded to know her.

The peace that comes of truly accepting one's destiny provides me with an acceptance that I might yet connect with Marie beyond the mere mortal state.

The flurry of flowers escaping the confines of the basket to bask in the air are like Marie's testament to those who worked with her.

Be free Marie. Your spirit will soar with the birds and your words and energy will forever be apart of who we are till the time that we join you.


This too shall come to pass.

deliab said...

Michael, thank you for sharing this significant occasion with us. Marie, thank you for who you are, your spirit captured for me in the following Celtic song:

You are the joy of all joyous things,
You are the light of the beam of the sun,
You are the door of the chief of hospitality,
You are the surpassing star of guidance,
You are the step of the deer on the hill,
You are the step of the steed on the strath,
You are the shape of the swan of swimming,
You are the grace of all lovely graces.

deliab said...

biddyb is now DeliaB...

Unknown said...

Thank you Michael for sharing your story of the day. Such a remarkable woman, wasn't she!

i copy Delia, and find a lovely Celtic blessing (excerpted). i think Marie's work was very much blessed by the light of her soul.

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

much love michael

Leigh Blackall said...

Thanks Mike. I met Marie only a few times - and always wanted to meet her more. I met Marty twice, and he set me on my path. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael - I was very sad not to be at this occasion - and priveledged to have been at Marie and Marty's wedding. There was so much joy and excitement. I am pleased that that spirit came through in her memorial.

Abid Rahman said...

meera rahman ,india
Its a shock to understand that Marie is no more in this world....
I met her in 1988 from cochin airport,kerala,india;when she planned to stay at my place,as she and her sister Jenny knew my brother during a trip to kodaikanal,one of the hillstations in india.we were mere strangers..only thru letters we had some connections,but the moment we met in person and took her to my moms place she became part of our lives..she was our big sister...but as years passed we lost contact..
Jenny if u happen to read this pls contact me on this no 00966560853726....i want to know more about Marie my long lost austalian sister
meera rahman
acting v principal
international indian school
riyadh,saudi arabia