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Marianne Finckel

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BENNINGTON -- After a brief bout with cancer, Marianne Wilson Finckel, 85, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2007, at her home in Bennington.

Mrs. Finckel was a faculty member of Bennington College for over 40 years and a resident of Bennington since 1940. Affectionately called “Willie” by all who knew her, she was a warm and gracious woman, a devoted mother, grandmother, friend, musician, teacher and community member.

Willie’s innate curiosity fired her interest in many areas, especially people and music. Part of an extensive family of musicians, she was an accomplished pianist and double bassist and the beloved and dedicated teacher of many local students of all ages. As a pianist and harpsichordist, she performed chamber music in the United States and Europe, locally with the Bennington County Choral Society and the Sage City Symphony, and recorded for CRI. As accompanist and coach, she participated in vocal workshops in the United States, Portugal and Mexico.

Born in Boston to a prominent orthopedist, Willie grew up in New York City and graduated from the Brearley School. She received her BA from Bennington College and continued her chamber music and piano studies at the Dalcroze School of Music. A pupil of Gregory Tucker, Julian Degray, and Aube Tzerko on piano, she also studied doublebass with Margaret Aue and future husband George Finckel. As bassist she performed in the Vermont, Savannah (Ga.), Charleston (N.C.), and Sage City Symphonies.

The grand-daughter of ‘Rejane,’ the famous French stage actress from the Belle Epoch, Willie loved all things French, and in fact taught French in the Bennington Public Schools from 1959 to 1961. She was also a stellar cook, generous host, avid gardener, poker player and poet. She married her husband, cellist George Finckel, after her senior year in college, and later helped him run “Finckel’s Antiques,” a shop they opened in a barn on their property. Willie’s positive, courageous and down-to-earth spirit inspired all; her thoughtfulness and generosity resulted in wonderful and lasting ftiendships.

In addition to her husband, Willie was predeceased by her brother Paul Wilson. Survivors include her brother, Phillip Wilson; two sons, Michael and Christopher Finckel, all of New York; four grandchildren, Adrien, Emeline, Paul, and Talia; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sage City Symphony, the Bennington community orchestra on whose board Willie served for the past 17 years. For those wishing to make donations, the symphony can be contacted at 447-2149.
Published in Bennington Banner on Aug. 28, 2007
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