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Dialogue of Cultures
The Funeral Service for
As difficult as it is to do, I want to provide a record of Marianna's beautifully sublime funeral service.
The program was a simple 8 1/2 by 11 folded sheet prepared by Effie DeGroot and Janice Chaitkin.
It featured a photo of Marianna from the September 2002 Schiller Institute Conference, during which she introduced Amelia by reporting on the Selma, Alabama ceremony honoring Amelia, which Marianna had the honor of attending and addressing.
The Program Cover:
Perhaps it was providential that Marianna died on Martin Luther King's birthday and was buried on his official national holiday.
On the inside cover appears the final stanza from Schiller's "Pegasus in Yoke," which Marianna also translated and loved to recite:
The program then says: "In memory of Marianna, contributions may be made to the Schiller Institute to print Friedrich Schiller, Poet of Freedom, Vol. IV and to reprint Amelia Boynton Robinson's Bridge Across Jordan."
The Funeral Service
The program of the service was as follows:
Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart sung by the Schiller Institute Chorus with Alan Odgen playing piano and John Sigerson conducting.
The Opening Prayers were given by Rev. Robert Brooks who knew and loved Marianna.
Psalm 8 was read by Janice Chaitkin, her sister-in-law
I Know That My Redeemer Liveth by Handel was sung by Kathy Wolfe, who taught both Marianna and me to sing.
1 Corinthians 13 was read by one of my sisters, Christine.
1 Corinthians 15; 51-55 was read by Susan Director
The Gospel Reading was Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Rev. Brooks, who selected this reading, a reading so fitting for Marianna, spoke briefly about Marianna as the "gentle" soul that she is.
Remembrances and Messages
Remembrances and Messages were then delivered. The first was given by Marianna's brother Anton Chaitkin.
From Her Brother
My sister Marianna took what she was given, and made something beautiful out of it.
She had the gift of an unusual family heritage.
Our father, Jacob Chaitkin, had a formative role in the fight against Adolf Hitler, before the United States or the Jewish people were united against Hitler. As an immigrant he was intensely patriotic, insisting the USA must live up to its mission. He was we were FDR Democrats; he was a critic of the Soviet regime, while seeking peaceful relations with Russia, which had been our wartime ally. World affairs were a natural, constant feature of our family life.
Our mother and father both worked at Cal Tech, where he taught law and scientific Russian. They would take us as children to Cal Tech and elsewhere to hear live Beethoven quartets and other classical music. Our older brother is a music composer, and Marianna's twin sister is a serious musician and former orchestra conductor.
Marianna's personal characteristics - she was always serious, intense, as you can see from her photos as a small child. In fact I sometimes thought of her as a kind of goody-two-shoes, always doing what was right and moral, while I was .... But later we worked out a compromise: we agreed to love the enemies of mankind, while overthrowing them.
She knew that victory over evil is often ruined by the perverse seeking after revenge.
Marianna got an "education" a Harvard Masters degree, and could have gone on to be a worthless "Harvard lawyer", but instead came eagerly to the idea correcting the world's wrongs.
She was also given evil, bad. She got Hodgkins disease and was badly injured in the arteries and bones by the treatment for it, and had severe medical problems extending to the heart problem that finally killed her. But she persisted. She learned to overcome her innate fearfulness, and reached out more and more to move others.
In the hospital in her last weeks, she told jokes, roaring with laughter and making callers and visitors laugh. At Johns Hopkins where she died, a male nurse told me, "when we were poking her and entubing her and doing hurtful things, she would say thank you she kept trying make US feel good; it gave me a big lump in my throat.
Marianna was excited and proud to be in the middle of the fight to determine the fate of the world.
I didn't know her after I left home when she was 12, until she joined our movement in the 1970s. She had a beautiful marriage - this was a gift. In the recent years, when we both lived in Leesburg, she came to be my best friend beside my wife. I could always count on her honesty and good advice when I was baffled about things.
In the last years she was growing as a person. She increasingly cared for others, she grew to seek reconciliation where there was strife.
She took the good and the bad, and made something beautiful out of it. She was a crucial inspiration and voice, on a global level. In the ultimate crisis of the world now, what she was and is will help move us to success.
The second was given by Marianna's best friend, Gretchen Small, who lived with Marianna, when both her husband, Dennis, and I were imprisoned along with Lyndon LaRouche as a result of a political railroad:
Marianna was a beautiful person.
The great German philosopher and statesman Gottfried Leibniz wrote in his "Memoir for Enlightened Persons of Good Intentions," that "one is obligated in conscience to act in such a way that one can give an accounting to God of the time and powers he has lent us," when our time is come.
Marianna is one of those happy people who can give a fair accounting to God for all that he lent her.
Leibniz's Memoir is a beautiful little essay, in which he discusses the ways by which men and women can become "incomparably happier than they are." Too many men and women of good intentions are "diverted by the ordinary cares of life," he writes; they "let themselves be carried away by the torrent of general corruption," and waste "the precious time of [their] lives in impotent wishes and useless complaints," when, would they but work on it, in a short time they could make great progress in increasing their happiness. And that happiness lies in "occupations which tend toward the General Good."
Marianna's life was defined by her refusal to be diverted from her dedication to the General Good by "the ordinary cares of life." And she was very happy.
Adversity often brings its gifts. One such gift for me, and for my husband Dennis, was our friendship with Marianna. She became my closest friend. Our friendship was forged in battle, when we lived together for two years while both of our husbands were unjustly imprisoned, together with Lyndon LaRouche and more than a few others. As Dennis was the first of the two to be released from jail, he, Marianna and I then lived togetheralong with Will and Marianna's two labradorsuntil Will was granted work release 7 months later.
Before the LaRouche trial in 1988, I did not know Marianna well. I was slightly intimidated when I moved in with her, thinking somehow that she was very serious, even solemn. I quickly came to know Marianna as she really was, and often kidded her that she was still a Californian at heart (especially when it snowed). She loved living, and she most definitely was her brother Tony's sister. Those who know Tony will understand what I mean by that.
Marianna was deeply political, and determined to bring justice to everyone in the world. If she decided upon a task, whatever it was, she would go at it aggressively, and happily. She was always working on something of importance. When confined to bed by yet another operation, she would translate Schiller's poetry, or define a specific reading project for herself, and then follow it through.
There was a simplicity about Marianna, a unity to her life. She was good-hearted, and enormously generous, including with physical possessions, of which Will and Marianna had few. She would take a picture off the wall of their home to give to someone, when she had nothing else to give. Many among us who suffered one physical infirmity or another turned to Marianna for advice, and received encouragement and caring lovealong with some stern words, if you didn't face up to what was required.
Marianna and Will faced adversity throughout their marriage, as a team. As he helped her fight her way through cancer, and its consequences, she, in turn, was his dedicated companion when he was jailed. She visited him weekly without fail, typed up his writings, provided him cheer, and served as his sounding board for ideas, great and small. When she was hospitalized again in December, she told me she and Will had done a rough calculation, and they decided they were finally "even" on visitations to each other's respective "institutions": his a jail; hers, many hospitals. And they laughed.
I visited Marianna in the hospital the day after she had learned that she urgently needed heart surgery, before she had recovered from her hip operation. She told me she knew she might not make italthough she had every intention of doing so. And she told me, as I know she told many, that she was ready, if it came to that, because she had had a wonderful life. She had been blessed with the opportunity of knowing Lyn and Helga, and of being part of our great movement; she had a wonderful marriage, and many friends.
She went into the surgery optimistic, and fought afterwards as long as she could.
One of the many things I remembered in thinking about Marianna this week, was a discussion we had on her decision to take up the challenge of reciting Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The difficulty, she pointed out, was to recite it in such a way, that the audience would not see before them a small, rather frail woman, but rather that tall, great President.
And, in thinking of that, I realized that that address offers the consolation we need, to all of us here. That it is for us, the living, to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. That from her passing, we take increased devotion to that cause for which she gave her last full measure of devotion. That we here highly resolve that she shall not have died in vain, and, that this nation, and all nations, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. Gretchen Small Jan. 20, 2003
The third was given by my other sister, Joanne.
My brother asked me if I would say a few words today. I agreed thinking it would be a great honor to do so, considering the person about whom I am to speak. Marianna was my sister-in-law and my friend.
We have many fond family memories of Marianna. She "won" her way into our family. I mean, literally, won in a stroke of beginner's luck in a rather rousing picnic-table-pounding family game of canasta while camping in Mt. Rainier in the State of Washington. She had earned our immediate respect and the nickname of "Ace."
We had many wonderful, shared holidays, which usually included a sing-along or hum-along or forget-which-part-you-were, alto or soprano (many times switching in a random and unpredictable fashion), in our rather all-out attempt at Handel's Messiah. It never mattered to her whether I ever got it quite right. It was about effort, the leap of faith, learning, achievement, and above all else, never giving up.
She was someone with great conviction. strong beliefs, and was a great crusader for those who are less fortunate, less recognized, usually dismissed and struggled to be heard.
Her own journey in life was filled with many personal and, rather, difficult challenges and yet, she worked to overcome them and became a beacon of light for others less fortunate than most in good health and those more fragile in terms of the human condition. She always seemed to be climbing the mountain to the summit and the travel was, indeed, very difficult at times. But she climbed, nonetheless, and always with a smile, a sparkle in her eye, with humor, and with great care to make sure that she did her utmost to help others along the way.
I know that she believed that the individual could, truly, make a difference and that a group of individuals, who share the same beliefs, could make an even more significant contribution. It was the nature of the contribution and the fact that, perhaps, with a bit of personal sacrifice, that was most important. It was all about effort, the leap of faith, learning, achievement and above all else, never giving up. She will be terribly, terribly missed.
The fourth person who spoke was Pat Betters, who heads up five Democratic precincts in Loudoun County. Pat had been a roommate of Marianna's at the Loudoun Hospital for three days before Marianna was transferred to Johns Hopkins for her operation. Pat and her daughter Robin attended the funeral. Pat, who has blood clots in her lungs, nonetheless attended the funeral, attached to an oxygen tank. I asked her speak and she jumped at the opportunity.
What she said was that Marianna in three days had changed the lives of herself, her daughter and her grandchild. She reported that when she was placed in Marianna's room, that Marianna had told her that she had prayed to God that her next roomate, after the teenager who had the TV on all night, be older and sicker. She said that since she was a Democrat and Marianna with LaRouche, they naturally hit it off well together. Every time someone came in to visit Pat, she would ask Marianna to read her favorite joke. Although Pat did not say the joke at the service, it was as follows: Moses was having a conversation with God and said to God, Now let me get this straight. They get all the oil. And we get to cut off the tip of our what?
She said that when Marianna was leaving for Johns Hopkins, she wrote out this joke for Pat and also wrote that no matter what happens their hearts will always beat for the truth.
Next, I asked Gerry Rose to read a message from Helga Zepp-LaRouche, whom Marianna had adopted as her sister, just as Helga had adopted Amelia Robinson as her mother.
To Marianna, My Little Sister in Eternity
You were the soul of the Schiller Institute in America and the reason why you chose that task is because you felt a complete affinity with the sublime Ideal of Man of the poet, whose name is the metaphor for our work. Your translations of his works prove that you are a true poetess, fulfilling the standard set by Schiller that one has to be a poet in two languages, if one wants to translate poetry adequately.
I will always have in my mind how movingly you recited the poem 'Hope,' which gave us a mirror into your beautiful soul. A beautiful soul, a person for whom passion and duty, freedom and necessity are the same. That is exactly, how you have lived your life. and I know that you will understand me very well, I know that you are now with Tell and Kallias and that Tell's friend is not far away.
(For those who do not know, Tell and Kallias, were part of our immediate Schiller family. Marianna gave me Tell, a black lab, on my 40th birthday. His full name was Will's Tell. I gave Kallias, a yellow lab, to Marianna on her 40th birthday. Kallias is Greek for beauty and is the title of a series of letters written by Schiller on the subject of beauty. Tell's friend was Lyn and Helga's dog, Bianca.)
I read this stanza from 'Hope' for Gerry in German and he recited it in English. It was a stanza that I repeatedly recited to her during her final days in the hospital.
I then spoke. I did not prepare my remarks. Perhaps 27 years of marriage with Marianna was preparation. I merely prayed to God beforehand that He would speak through me. As best as I can remember, these are among the things that I said:
Before she was transferred to Johns Hopkins from Loudoun Hospital we escaped from her room for a brief journey, her in a wheel chair, to a hospital lobby where she told me, much as she had told others, that if she should die, she had no regrets. She said she was totally blessed by being a member of our political movement and especially by having the opportunity to know Lyn and Helga. She was blessed by our marriage. She emphasized that she could not imagine how she could be more blessed than she had been in her life.
The surgeon told us that it was a high risk operation, but we knew that we had no choice. Since her hip operation on October 29, our 27th anniversary, she had been in and out of the hospital, first with pulmonary blood clots and then with congestive heart failure.
As she told her nephew, Peter Chaitkin, who visited her at Christmas time, she had two jobs. The first was to survive and the second was to recover. And in a very real sense she has done her job. She has survived and now it is up to us to make sure that the world is put on the Road to Recovery.
When Lyn recruited many of us back in the 1970s, he used to make reference to a cartoon in the New Yorker Magazine. The cartoon depicted a fellow who attended his own funeral. In the caption, he asks: I wonder what that was all about? From the very beginning, Lyn forced us to think about the meaning of our lives. He urged us to embrace immortality. And I can tell you that Marianna, unlike the fellow in the cartoon, had the answer, she knew what it was about.
One of the most important decisions Marianna made in the last year was to join the sales force. Others had fled. But she wanted to be on the front lines in solidarity with others in fighting for Lyndon LaRouche. She could have used her health problems as an excuse, but she did not. Even this decision was made as a conscious embrace of immortality. She recently told me that the reason she did this, was because she wanted people to have a reason for attending her funeral.
I can't refer to Marianna now in the past tense, because she is alive. She lives not in the present moment, but in the Eternal Now. She had already tasted Heaven.
As I told Lyn [Lyndon LaRouche], in the last 3 months of her illness, she had grown so much. She organized everyone she came in contact with, ambulance drivers, nurses, her roommates. What makes me sad is that she still had so much to offer humanity. But the fact of the matter is that she is doing that now. She organized this service, through her inspiration, through the way in which she touched so many people. We have to be the instruments through whom she continues to organize.
Lyn has said that in such a time of crisis, the only way one can provide leadership, is if one has embraced immortality as Joan of Arc did. Marianna gave us an example of precisely that.
When Father Brooks read the Beatitudes and referred to the peacemaker, an irrepressible smile came across my face.
Marianna fought for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. She fought for Lyn and for me and our other imprisoned associates, but it was not limited to us alone. She was much beloved by many people not associated with us currently in prison, with whom she continued to correspond and organize.
She had fought against capital punishment ever since many of our friends were unjustly imprisoned in Virginia. When Illinois Governor Ryan announced the commutation of all death sentences in his state, this was indeed a victory for Marianna. I told her about his decision and even though she could not speak, because she was on a ventilator, she motioned to me with her eyes and facial expression her great happiness with this development.
During her most recent illness Marianna, inspired by the LaRouche Youth Movement, was working on a project to write an article on the creation of genius. Besides Lyn's writings, she was reading the works of or about a number of geniusesLeonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Ben Franklin, she read a biography of Johannes Kepler and a biography of Gauss. She had just started reading a biography of Franklin Roosevelt.
We never had our own children, but we worked for the children of the world as the future of humanity. And it is for that reason that I have asked Matt, Megan, Karon and Carlo, all of whom came to visit her in her final days, to be among the pallbearers. It is the LaRouche Youth Movement, which will bear her legacy into the future.
There are two quotes from Christ in the New Testament that always inspire me. The first is a statement by Christ that "My food, is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to finish His work." The second, is what Christ said to his Apostles: "You will do even greater works than I." Marianna has done her job well and we must do even greater works.
There is much to be sad about, but as Amelia wisely stressed to me, one must chase away sadness. Marianna spend her talents well. As Lyn said to me, "Marianna is a blessing, she is a courageous girl."
Would that all of us will have such inner happiness with the way in which we have lived our lives, as she has. So rather than being sad, we should be filled with joy that we have known and worked with such a beautiful soul.
Abendempfindung by Mozart was sung by Susan Bowen.
A Closing Prayer by Amelia Boynton Robinson was read by Nina Ogden
Help Us To Live As Marianna Did
Heavenly Father, we thank you for loaning us one of your dearest angels, who lived on earth as a message bearer. We know each one of your children has a task to accomplish before you call us from labor to reward.
You permitted her to do so much good on this earth. For many years she suffered physically, but she wanted to complete the task before her. Through it all you watched over her and as her pains were more than she could bear You said, "Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you rule over many. Enter thou into the gates of your Lord."
As the angels came down and bore her spirit to heaven, we stand in awe, dear God. We know that she left this earthly home at peace with the world. And dear God, help us to live as Marianna did. May we, too, leave footprints of love, kindness, devotion and a wealth of knowledge of who you are.. May we, too, receive the crown of life when you receive us to thyself. We ask this, for Jesus' sake.
The service was concluded with the Adagio from Sonata in D by Handel by Nancy Shavin and Marcia Merry Baker.
Marianna was then interred at the Union Cemetery in Leesburg, which is where another beautiful soul, Alan Salisbury, is also buried. This is within walking distance from where I currently live and where Tony and Janice live. It is also next to Ida Lee Park where she loved to swim and a block from where Marianna and I reaffirmed our marriage vows at St. John the Apostle's Catholic Church.
I intend to plant a Lindenbaum next to her grave site, which is also where I will be buried. Her tombstone will have carved into it the above-cited quote from The Artist.
The pallbearers were Matt Ogden (our Godson) and Megan Beets, Karon and Carlo Concha Zia, my two brothers-in-law, John and Robert, Bruce Director and Dennis Small. As I said during my remembrance at the funeral, I asked Matt, Megan, Karon and Carlo to be pallbearers, because I wanted Marianna's legacy to be borne into the future by the LaRouche Youth Movement.
The back of the program contained two additional quotes
There was an open casket at the funderal. Marianna was dressed in the dress she wore on her 50th birthday. She also wore this same dress on Helga's 50th birthday in Germany. (Marianna may have been Helga's "little sister," but Marianna was quick to point out that Helga was her younger sister.) At one point in her life, after getting Hogkin's Disease (cancer) at age 27, soon after we were married in 1975, Marianna did not think she would live to be 30. She felt especialy blessed to have livd to age 50.
Linda Everett prepared the flowers, including a bouquet of roses held in Marianna's hands. Many others gave the most beautiful flowers, for which we are both so grateful. I placed a print of the two child angels from Raphael's painting of the Sistine Madona, just beneath the casket. I also burned her baptismal candle. In my mind, it reflected the baptism by fire, which Marianna underwent through much of her adult live.
In the funeral parlor, were placed two photo displays of Marianna's life, which I assembled with the help of Tony Chaitkin. Included is the Seattle Times article from Oct. 30, 1975 reporting on our marriage. The article was entitled: Council Candidate Takes Time Out for Wedding. It includes a beautiful photo.
There is also a small display, which includes a letter from Amelia, Marianna's editor's preface to Bridge Across Jordan, a letter from the Vatican and a sampling of poems that we had exchanged with one another especially when I was in prison. The letter from the Vatican was in response to a reassuring letter Marianna had written Pope John Paul II when she heard he was going to have a hip operation. Marianna had an abiding love for John Paul II and true Christianity as reflected in 1 Corinthians 13 as opposed to the Carlist Christians who are not Christians, who have taken over the Arlington, Va. diocese.
After the burial, friends were invited to the Wertz home.
On Sunday, January 19, 2003 the following obituary was published in the Washington Post on page C11, despite the fact that the Washington Post had vowed never to mention Lyndon LaRouche without slandering him: (obituary)
A memorial service will be held on February 15 during the evening session of the Schiller Institute conference in Northern. Virginia.
On behalf of Marianna and myself, I want to thank everyone for his and her support and generosity
Humboldt's Education Reforms (Fidelio Magazine, Summer 1996)
Humboldt's Classical Education Curriculum (New Federalist, March 1993)
Supermax Prison Expose --( New Federalist, May 2000)
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the LaRouche Campaign (2000)
Pope Brings `The Common Good' To Judge Globalization and War (EIR, May 2001)
Marianna's Articles on the Death Penalty are Forthcoming
If you are one of Marianna's many friends who would like to help celebrate her beautiful life, you can share your thoughts and memories through this website. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will post your messages on this site, and print them later for her husband, William Wertz, Fidelio Magazine Editor and Schiller Institute President in the USA.
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