In Memory

Marcia Harris



 
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09/20/12 03:19 PM #1    

Alan Duke

Submitted by Paul Diamond Edit | Delete
Marcia dedicated her adult life as a nurse practioner to help Central American and Hmong people both in their native lands and Fresno, where many Hmong lived. She was actively critical where she felt they were not working to their full potential -- but she continued to selfelessly help nonetheless. She died in a bus crash in Central America on one more mission. She was a sweet, complicated girl (my first date, Dave Clark 5, Santa Monica Civic, 1967) and I miss her, as should we all.
Submitted by Jamie Keller Edit | Delete
Marcia and I were Man From UNCLE spies freshman year, leaving notes in each other's lockers. Marcia loved guys in uniform, any kind, and was always on the lookout for her perfect mate, a guy who was sweet, shy, and dedicated.

Glad I saw her at the last reunion Not one for chit chat, Marcia's last words to me were, "How did you stay so thin?"

Wish I could answer at our 40th.

 


10/21/15 10:29 AM #2    

Cathy Dreyfuss

I had sent a long post about Marcia a few months ago but don't see it here so I am writing again.

Marcia came to the 30 year reunion in 1999, the first she had attended. She had moved back to the States from Cambodia to work in Fresno with the Hmong community there. Shortly after the reunion, she was offered a job working with the indigenous communities in Ecuador, where I had lived for a few years back in the 1970's. We had a long phone conversation about it and we were both excited she was going there. I even gave her letters to bring to the families I lived with years before. She went to Ecuador a few months later and died in a car crash there sometime in the winter of 2000. I don't know the exact date but I am pretty sure it was before the end of 2000. We were very close childhood friends and it was tragic to have reconnected with her and to have lost her so soon afterwards. Marcia was one of a kind. 

Cathy Dreyfuss


07/28/19 07:43 PM #3    

Amy Kaufman

Marcia's life was a story of selfless heroism. At fifteen we used to talk of being "noble." Marcia's noble aspirations took her where no one could follow. She became a nurse and worked for a time in a New York hospital, but she told me she couldn't stay in the United States. Leaving behind all prospects of a comfortable life, she chose to nurse the poor in war-torn Southeast Asia.

In girlhood she was slender, with fine features and light brown hair, and I fondly likened her to a sparrow. I remember she was gentle. When I had a migraine she put me under an old-fashioned hair dryer and gave me two pieces of Aspergum. I remember our innocence, and giggling in class. In college the times were not favorable to young women, and Marsha was delicate. But she found her calling and pursued it with all her strength. With what courage she must have faced each day in poorly equipped village clinics.

One year, when she was visiting her parents, she mentioned a nursing opportunity in Ecuador. I wrote to her there and she answered, but before I could write again our friend Jamie Keller called to tell me Marcia and another nurse had been driving along those notoriously treacherous roads and their car had gone off a cliff. Later I learned a priest had marked the place with a Jewish star in memory of Marcia. The vision is fixed in my mind. She was highly esteemed. I wish she knew how much she was loved. I wish I had shown it more.


02/01/20 05:38 PM #4    

Bonnie Burstein (Burstein)

I considered Marcia one of my best friends. Losing her an exceedingly painful loss.  She was so intelligent and creative.  Rare and quirky.  I loved her poetry. Here's one I especially loved, called Chicken Liver:

Chicken liver, chicken liver, chicken liver, chick,

Enliver, chicken liver, chicken liver, chicken.

Liverchicken, liverchicken, liverchicken, liver.

Enliver, chicken liver, chicken liver, chicken,

 

Inspired, n'est pas?


02/02/20 10:47 AM #5    

Patricia (Pat) Warner

I posted a tribute to Marcia on April 30, 2015.  When I saw Bonnie’s recent post — thank you, BB — I noticed that it wasn’t there.*   So, I’m reposting a modified version, along with an update.

Marcia and I didn't hang out in high school.  I worked after school and for the most part we traveled in different crowds.  Somewhere in the mix, though, we discovered each other; would wave to each other when we passed in the halls or on the lawn; and would occasionally kibbitz on the telephone.  What I remember most about Marcia was her high-octane personality and her ribald sense of humor.  (Truth be told, the latter made me somewhat uncomfortable; a reflection, I think, of Marcia being more worldly than me, at least at the time.)

It tore me up when I heard that Marcia had died in Ecuador.  Her fate felt all the more poignant when I learned that she’d been there as a nurse practitioner; and that she and a colleague were en route to see patients when they’d perished on a treacherous mountain road.  

Shortly after I received that tragic news, I sent Marcia’s parents a condolence card.  The note that I received from her mom Constance (Connie)  broke my heart all over again; filled with the kind of anguish that no parent should ever have to suffer.

I see on the "In Memoriam" page that the year of Marcia's death is listed as unknown.   According to http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/108167/Portrait-of-a-people.pdf?sequence=1 -- which seems to have been written by the Harris Family — Marcia died in 2000.

Rest in your power, dear Marcia, z"l.

PW

Postscript:  the scholarship set up in honor of a Marcia Harris at https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarships/marcia-harris-legacy-fund-scholarship# does not relate to our Marcia.

Update — February 2020

Since my original entry was 15 years old, I opted to do a bit more research.  (Hey, once a researcher, always a researcher.)

1.    A bit stark perhaps...  I came across a photograph of what appears to be Marcia’s tombstone at:  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/132317344/marcia-faye-harris.

2.   My impression is that Mr. Harris is no longer living; but, to my surprise, I found what seems to be a current listing for Mrs. Harris in the San Francisco Bay Area.  (It’s possible that her son Steve may live nearby, as well.)  If that proves accurate, I’ll be pleased, as I live close enough to visit the Harrises and extend an hello on behalf of those of us who continue to hold Marcia in our hearts.

3.   I'm sure that Marcia would be pleased to see her mother's trajectory as a fairly noted scholar of Jewish art.  In 2009, Mrs. Harris published a book entitled The Way Jews Lived: Five Hundred Years of Printed Words and Images.  Along with that, the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art at Hebrew University in Jerusalem includes the Jewish Heritage Collection of Constance and Theodore Harris (http://cja.huji.ac.il/home/pics/updates/CJA_Update_Spring_2019.pdf).

_____

*  I don’t remember where I placed it — whether in the “Memory” or “Forum” section — and it’s possible that I took it down as part of being judicious about my visibility on the Internet.  Hundreds of Jews, including me, who promote Jewish Israeli/Palestinian dialogue and peace efforts, have been targeted on the Internet by a highly aggressive anti-Jewish hate group.


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