Marjorie Ruth Jamison

Marjorie Ruth Jamison

Marjorie Ruth Jamison, 87, died at her home in Ashland on May 24, 2010.

Marj moved to Ashland in 1995 with her husband, Hal Jamison, who died in 2007. They became active participants in the community, gaining many close friends through their courses at SOLIR, their involvement in progressive causes and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and their love of a good cup of coffee.

Marj is survived by her daughter Karen, of New York, and her daughter Paula, a longtime resident of Ashland. She is also survived by Paula's daughter Allyson, who is in college in New York City.

Marj was born in Phoenixville, Pa. on Sept. 30, 1922. She earned a BFA from Syracuse University and served as a WAVE in the Navy in World War II. She married John Backus at 24 and worked as a fabric designer in Manhattan, a job well-suited to her lifelong love of all that is beautiful in life, both man-made and natural. Marj and John moved to Chappaqua, N.Y., where she gave birth to her daughters.

Marj and her family moved to Berkeley, Calif. in 1964. She and John divorced a year later. Undaunted, Marj went back to school while raising her daughters to earn a teaching credential and a masters in learning disabilities, then an emerging field. She helped found a special education clinic in Berkeley and later served for many years as a diagnostician and special education teacher in the public schools in Contra Costa county.

Marj met Hal in 1968 and they married in 1979. They spent many wonderful years in Berkeley and took great pleasure in walking and hiking all over northern California.

All who knew Marj recognized her deep kindness and profound understanding of what is important in life, leavened by an incredible sense of humor and more than a trace of skepticism.

She was a wonderful wife to Hal, a loving mother to Karen and Paula, and an adoring grandmother to Ally, and she will be forever missed by her family and many close friends.

No formal memorial service is planned.

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