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Marjorie Pyles "Marina" Honzik

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Marjorie Pyles Honzik "Marina" 1908-2003 Marjorie Pyles Honzik, a distinguished child psychologist an Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, died June 16, 2003 in a nursing home near Fresno, California. She was 94. Marjorie was born in Johannesberg, South Africa. Her parents had been teachers in South Dakota. Her father moved to Africa in 1900 to work in the mining industry there, followed by her mother in 1906. They married there. Marjorie was born in 1908 and her only sibling, Hamilton, was born in 1909. From early childhood, Marjorie was drawn to babies. She was struck by the difference between African and European treatment of children, the former more overtly loving and the latter more stern and formal. Her interest in child development began from these early observations. Marjorie loved her English boarding school in South Africa. Perhaps the school is where she developed the refined manner and slight accent that stayed with her throughout life. When Marjorie and her brother reached college age, they moved with their mother from South Africa to California to attend the University of California. Marjorie's father joined the family in California a few years later. Marjorie had trained to be a professional pianist, but ultimately majored in psychology, graduating in 1930. She was an excellent student and loved learning, though she once received a low grade in physical education. After a two-year fellowship in the National Child Research Center in Washington, D.C. she returned to Berkeley for postgraduate work in the Department of Psychology. She received her Ph.D in 1936. A year earlier, Marjorie had married a fellow psychology student, Charles H. Honzik. They had two children, Eleanor in 1938 and Elizabeth in 1941. The family was living in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attached, just two months after Elizabeth's birth. They returned to the mainland in a crowded and blacked out boat, escorted by warships. Charles had served in the army in World War I and was a psychological counselor for the Veterans Administration during and after World War II. After two years in Salt Lake City, the family settled permanently in Berkeley, half a mile south of the University. Family life was filled with music, books, scholarship, summer trips, and relatives. Marjorie remained close to her parents and brother, and Charles remained close to his six sisters. Marjorie had worked as a undergraduate and graduate student at Berkeley's Institute for Child Development, famous for its pioneering longitudinal studies of child development. She continued there throughout her professional life. She was part of the Institute almost from its beginning, in 1927, and became well known as one of its prominent researchers. When Marjorie's children reached their teens, she began teaching courses on child development at Berkeley and at Mills College. During the early 1970's, the University of California was under heavy criticism fro discrimination against women. After studying university records, the federal Office of Civil Rights found Marjorie to be a dramatic example of a woman unfairly treated, However, Marjorie played down the incident and kept her name out of public discussion. Marjorie retired in 1980, after four and a half decades with the University. She continued to live in Berkeley, remained active in research, and travelled extensively around the world. Over her long career, Marjorie published many influential works, especially on intellectual development. Among other honors, she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1984. Marjorie is survived by her daughters, Eleanor Honzik Christensen and Elizabeth Honzik Conlisk, by their husband, and by five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. her grandson John Christensen, now Father Damascene, presided at the funeral services at the St. Peter The Apostle Orthodox Church in Fresno, CA. on Thursday June 19, 2003 at 11am.
Published in East Bay Times on June 20, 2003
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