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Alice Marian Robertson Wilson

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Alice Marian Robertson Wilson Obituary
Alice Marian Robertson Wilson
1926 ~ 2013
Alice Marian Robertson Wilson, born August 20, 1926 in Morgan, Utah to Leroy J. and Naomi N. Robertson, passed away April 8, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Marian grew up in Provo, where she attended Brigham Young University through her elementary, secondary and college years, graduating in 1948 Summa Cum Laude and as BYU valedictorian. She pursued her graduate work at the University of Utah, earning an M.A. (1952), and two Ph.D. degrees (1960 and 1970). Apart from being with her family, Marian loved most of all to learn, especially languages and music. As a musician she appeared in her first piano recital at age eight, had a minor career as a pianist, but became best known as a 'cellist, primarily as a member of the Utah Symphony (1947-1962) where she was the assistant solo 'cellist from 1952 on. As a teenager she played in concerts throughout the Intermountain West, giving performances during WWII for the troops at Dugway and performing weekly programs at KSL Radio and KUED-TV. As a linguist, she began speaking French at age nine and soon went on to learn many other languages. (Some people have counted thirty-two languages, but she only vouched for "upwards of sixteen.") As an undergraduate student in 1946, she began a 28-year teaching career, first at BYU teaching French, then at the U of U, and finally at USU, as an associate professor. During these years, in addition to French she taught German, Italian, Ancient Greek, and Advanced Music Theory. A winner of numerous fellowships, she did important research in France and Egypt, and later lectured at major universities across the USA and in Europe. In the late 1970s she ultimately combined her love of music and languages by working on the Coptic Encyclopedia project as translator, editor, and music editor. With articles published in nine countries, she gained international recognition for her pioneering research in Coptic music, and in 1992 the Music Division at the Library of Congress recruited her as consultant in Coptic Music, a position she held until her death. A devout Mormon, she fulfilled various callings on the ward level, most recently as Gospel Doctrine leader. Marian was the happy wife of the late W. Keith Wilson, former Chief of Probation and Parole for the State of Utah, who predeceased her in 1994. She is survived by siblings Renee R. (Stephen) Whitesides, Karen R. Post, Jim (Bonita) Robertson, and by many beloved nieces and nephews. She loved her nieces and nephews (and grand-nieces and grand-nephews) dearly, and they all dearly loved her. They couldn't wait for a letter and/or an annual birthday card from "Aunt Marian." A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 12:00 Noon at Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple. There will be a visitation of family and friends at 11:00, prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Leroy J. Robertson Foundation, Music Department, University of Utah.
Marian thought the following items were too cumbersome for an obituary, but we, her siblings, think they should be included.
(1) From junior high school onward she consistently maintained a straight "A" record.
(2)She was the very first student from a Utah school (U of U) to win a Fulbright Scholarship (1950-1951)
(3)She corresponded in French for 12 years with poet-playwright, Jean Cocteau, until his death in 1963 which is how she "honed" her French writing skills.
(4)She was a performing student in the Casal's Master Classes at UC Berkeley from 1960-1962
(5)Very ecumenical, she loved reading the scriptures from her earliest years. As a teenager she began reading the New Testament in the original Greek; later memorized and chanted the entire Koran in Arabic; analyzed and translated Coptic liturgies.

Published in Deseret News from Apr. 9 to Apr. 10, 2013
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