The School of Nursing (SON) family at Memorial University will sorely miss their long-time friend and colleague, Mrs. Marilyn Marsh, a popular and dedicated associate professor who passed away earlier this week.
Though she had been retired for over 20 years, Mrs. Marsh stayed in regular contact with her former colleagues from the school, and frequently attended SON annual events.
"I have often heard people reminiscing that Professor Marilyn Marsh was as caring with her students as she wanted students to be with their patients," said Dr. Alice Gaudine, dean pro tempore of the School of Nursing. "I remember one of her former students from outside St. John's saying that when she was living in residence and her father passed away, Mrs. Marsh phoned her a number of evenings to ask how she was managing."
That former student is Claudine Morgan, now a faculty member in the School of Nursing.
Mrs. Marsh was often seen at graduations, the annual crest ceremony for first-year nursing students, the SON's Scholarships and Awards ceremony, and most recently the reception for nursing alumni held last fall, 2013.
During her many years at the School of Nursing, Mrs. Marsh taught medical/surgical nursing in the classroom and in the clinical areas, and later, when her Multiple Sclerosis (MS) didn't allow her to go into the clinical area with students, she taught pathophysiology.
"She took a real interest in the students both academically and personally and at the end of each semester she would have a party for them at her house," said her friend and former colleague Marilyn Beaton, who retired last year from the school. "I often heard at reunions of graduates how much they appreciated her."
School of Nursing Prof. Lynn Vivian-Book says she was fortunate to have Ms. Marsh as an instructor, preceptor, mentor, and colleague and recalls the strong rapport she enjoyed with her students and fellow faculty members.
"She had high expectations from her students," said Prof. Vivian-Book, who teaches community health and health promotion in the school. "She was the kind of instructor that pushed and challenged you but at the same time provided that supportive environment for learning.
"We all can recall special teachers who stand out, and she was one of those for me."
Nursing students over the years were impressed by the way she handled the real-life challenges she faced in dealing with her MS.
Ms. Marsh continued to have a presence in the school even long after her retirement, whether though her involvement in special events, or through the scholarship created in her name.
She was so committed to nursing education that she established a scholarship for nursing students, the Marilyn Marsh Scholarship, that was presented recently during the school's scholarship and awards ceremony.
Mrs. Marsh could not attend this year's event, but reflected on the high-quality nursing care she received in hospital this past summer.
One nurse in particular stood out, and Ms. Marsh was delighted to learn that the young woman who had been so attentive and profession in hospital had received the Marilyn Marsh Scholarship 10 years earlier!
Besides her career as a professor, Mrs. Marsh was also a writer, and worked with her colleagues Marilyn Beaton and Jeannette Walsh on A Life of Caring, featuring the stories of 16 nurses.
Mrs. Marsh's wake is being waked at Barrett's Funeral Home in St. John's on Thursday and Friday from 3-5 pm and 7-9 pm both days. The funeral will be at Cochrane St. United Church on Sat., Feb. 15 at 12:30 pm.