R. Juliana Centner
SHAFTSBURY, VT R. Juliana Centner left this life on Saturday, October 27, 2012 surrounded by a circle of friends as the sun was setting and the moon was rising in her beloved home on Maple Hill in Shaftsbury, Vermont.
She was born the 3rd of 4 siblings in January 1937 in Hanau, Germany, the city of the Brothers Grimm. Both of her parents, Ursula Scholz and Arnold Centner, were natives of Silesia, Germany,(now Poland). Juliana and her two sisters spent most of the WW II years on her maternal grandmother's farming estate in Silesia. Juliana is survived by her sister Sylvia Reckert, a niece and three nephews all living in Germany.
In 1945, after fleeing from the approaching Russian army, her family eventually settled in West Germany. Juliana experienced the deprivation and chaos of the after-war years living in various places in Germany with various relatives and friends of her parents. These childhood years of suffering caused by war laid the foundation for Juliana's work for peace, justice and tolerance later in life.
Juliana completed the "Abitur" degree in 1956, worked in England and France for 2 1/2 years, and graduated in 1963 from the University of Heidelberg with a diploma as a translator. She worked as a translator for 4 years and traveled to various European countries and Israel. Her plans to join a college friend in Guatemala for six months to sharpen her Spanish language skills were waylaid by health concerns, an aftermath of the WW II deprivation. Then, in 1967, she came to New York City on a six month visa which eventually led to her permanent residency in the U.S. in 1969.
Work as a bilingual executive secretary and later freelance translator supported her during her graduate studies at Bank Street College of Education where she received an MS in Early Childhood Education in 1973. She chose to work in daycare centers in the Lower East Side of NYC until her move to Shaftsbury, VT in 1985.
During her 18 years in NYC the main strands of her life's work crystallized:
·commitment to promoting diversity, tolerance and prevention of violence
·commitment to supporting those less fortunate economically and those discriminated against
·commitment to the care of one's own physical and spiritual health (especially after a diagnosis of MS in 1976) through the practice of yoga
After her move to Shaftsbury, Juliana taught from 1985-1990 at the Early Childhood Center of Bennington College and subsequently for eleven years at the North Bennington Graded School until her retirement in 2001. Juliana was an unceasing advocate of the benefits of yoga for physical/mental/emotional health. Juliana began teaching yoga in NYC and was well known for her classes in Bennington, Manchester, and the Williamstown area until mid-2011. In the late 1980's, invited by life-long Bennington peace activist Ursula Scott, she became active in the Peace Resource Center of Bennington and the sister-city relationship between Bennington and Somotillo, Nicaragua.
Juliana had a life-long curiosity about and desire to experience other cultures and other lives through travel. Juliana loved her travels to Europe, Argentina, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Israel, the American Southwest and Mexico. She also loved long walks by the ocean, and through the woodlands near her home in Shaftsbury.
Juliana lived by her commitment to care-take the health of Mother Earth by following the motto:
"Live Simply so Others May Simply Live"
FUNERAL NOTICE: A Celebration of her life will be held at the North Bennington Graded School, School Street, North Bennington, on November 11, 2012 from 3-5 pm. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Juliana's memory may be made to the VCF Juliana Centner Maple Hill Fund (part of the Vermont Community Foundation) or to the Center for Communication in Medicine, c/o Hanson-Walbridge & Shea Funeral Home, Bennington, VT. To send personal email cond lences, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
Published in The Manchester Journal on Nov. 10, 2012