Magazine article Montessori Life

IN MEMORIAM: Marcella Dawson (1941-2003)

Magazine article Montessori Life

IN MEMORIAM: Marcella Dawson (1941-2003)

Article excerpt

The Montessori community across the country has lost a kindred spirit. Marcella Dawson courageously met the challenges of cancer during the last year of her life and succumbed to its persistence on Thursday, September 4, in the late afternoon. In the final month, Marcella told doctors, family, and friends that she chose to enjoy a quality of life to the end, to enjoy being with her family. She did that and more. She had plans and goals to fulfill and knew her energy and time would not accommodate all of them. To that end she took care of business as she always had: decisively, with clarity, and always with a sense of humor. Marcella was unfailingly able to cut to the chase, see the big picture, and move on. She died at home with her entire family present. To each she offered the greatest gift of all-words of advice, a personal comment, a gift of love. She died peacefully having given her best to those around her.

As a young mother, Marcella was drawn to the teachings of Montessori. She was an avid and critical reader and found the philosophy of Montessori to be in agreement with her own. She took the Montessori training in California during the summer of 1971 and returned to Houston to train others. In 1972 she co-founded Palmer Montessori School and went on to establish the Houston Montessori Center in 1973. Marcella was joined by Lorna Terhune in the very beginning and went on to assemble a staff of teachers in whom she placed great trust and expectation. Her standards were high, her dedication unwavering.

During her active years in Montessori, Marcella chaired the Teacher Education Committee for AMS and served as their representative to the AMS board. She developed the early childhood Montessori training in HMC and recognized the need to add the elementary training. To that end she supported her colleague, Lorna Terhune, who developed the advanced program. In the late 70s Marcella assisted in opening dialog for an infant-toddler program. She co-chaired two national seminars for AMS in Houston. Her practical life teaching reflected her depth of understanding of Montessori philosophy. …

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