Marie Olesen Urbanski Whittaker
March 12, 1922 - October 24, 2016
Marie Whittaker, 94, feminist, scholar and liberal activist, passed away on Oct. 24 at her daughter's home in Raleigh. Her death was the latest in a series of uncommon successes, a final testament to her mental powers and indomitable will. She decided years ago that she would live to age 94. On Oct. 15, she announced that she was failing and would be dead in a month's time. Her daughters mistakenly believed she would live to see the election of our first female president. Glamour.com
published a blog about her last wish. (http://www.glamour.com/story/the-last-thing-my-mother-did-before-she-died-was-vote-for-hillary-clinton
Marie was born March 12, 1922 in Pittsburgh, PA, the middle daughter of Charles William Olesen, and Esther Mitchell Olesen, from Oxford, NC. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1944 and got her Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Kentucky in 1973. A professor at University of Maine at Orono for over 20 years, Marie's scholarship focused on the contributions of Margaret Fuller, 19th century feminist and visionary. She later developed a close friendship with Fuller's great nephew, Buckminster Fuller. Marie published several books and many articles, including one of her favorites, about her feminist journey: "From Glamour Girl to Social Pariah."
She was married twice: to Dr. Edmund S. Urbanski and Joseph Boyd Whittaker. She is survived by her daughters,
Wanda Urbanska of Raleigh and Jane U. Robbins (Ed) of Great Falls, VA; two grandsons, Henry U. Levering of Los Angeles and Erik Robbins of Houston, TX, and nephews and niece, Scott Kelley, Charles Corbin, Peter Corbin, Mark Corbin & Carolyn Kelley.
A memorial service is planned for Nov. 20 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Airy, NC. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Planned Parenthood, 100 S. Boylan Ave., Raleigh 27603, or the National Women's Hall of Fame, 76 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY 13148.