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Marilyn Anita Martin (1926 - 2013)

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Martin, Marilyn Anita

Marilyn Martin, of Ithaca, died peacefully at home of congestive heart failure on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at the age of 86. She had the company of her daughter Eileen Martin throughout her last illness. Marilyn was born in Seattle, Washington, on December 30, 1926, to Joseph and Elsie Laherty. She attended Ballard High School, then the University of Washington, where she received a B.A. in Romance Languages in 1948, and an M.A. in Romance Languages in 1950. Marilyn worked in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language from 1960 to 1968, first as a Fulbright Lecturer in Quito, Ecuador and then in Bogota, Colombia, this last under the auspices of the U.S. State Department and UCLA; later, the Agency for International Development and the U.S. Peace Corps. In 1968 Marilyn came to Cornell as a Lecturer in English as a Second Language in the then Division of Modern Languages, later renamed the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. She profited enormously from daily contact with the Linguistics faculty. She became the director of the program in English for Academic Purposes in 1976. Over the next years, until retirement in 1993, she developed the program, which served graduate students from other countries in improving their English to compete with native-speaking students in writing and speaking skills, as well as freshman bilingual students who needed special instruction in writing and speaking academic English. The program grew from one course in 1968 to nine specialized courses in 1993. In 1976 Marilyn proposed the creation of an Intensive English program to serve English as a Second Language students who needed full-time English instruction. In addition to teaching English, she proposed and taught in a Master's Degree program for Linguistics majors interested in teaching English as a second/foreign language. She taught courses in English for Teachers of English as a Second/Foreign Language, Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language, and seminars in the subject. She gave numerous papers and presentations at TES/FL conferences on the state and international levels. Her major interests were the lexicon and discourse as they related to the learning of English. She received grateful letters and emails from many of her students, whose later careers were a source of great pleasure and satisfaction to her. Marilyn loved reading, often reading a few books a week, and she came to know the staff at the Cornell Library Annex quite well after her retirement. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed making dishes from all over the world. Marilyn loved classical music, and opera was especially dear to her heart. She is lovingly survived by her daughters Eileen Martin of Takoma Park, MD and Maureen Greiger of Bethesda, MD, and also by her brother, Dale Laherty, of Seattle, WA. A Memorial Service is planned for later this spring. Any contributions to honor her life may be directed to Hospicare, 172 E. King Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 or to Mercy Corps International.

Published in Ithaca Journal on Jan. 25, 2013
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