Marian was born on September 27, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan. Both of Marian’s parents survived being prisoners of war from 1941-1945 by the Japanese in the Philippines where they fled from Nazi persecution in Czechoslovakia in 1940. She graduated from high school in Dearborn, Michigan, and was required to care for a medically-dependent mother throughout her undergraduate years. Despite such family history and life challenges, Marian completed her bachelor’s degree in English with distinction and a master’s degree in English Language and Literature at The University of Michigan. In retirement, she became qualified as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor and assisted dozens of international students in Ann Arbor.
Marian worked as a copy editor for the Detroit News and then as a technical and public relations writer at the Michigan Cancer Foundation in Detroit until a passion for education, led her to a career in teaching and academic administration in many schools ranging from elementary schools to universities including Michigan State University and Washtenaw Community College. In retirement, she taught writing for several semesters at Ashesi University in Ghana and The Great Lakes University of Kisumu in Kenya.
Marian believed that life is fragile and should be lived with zest and purpose. She loved sailing, bicycling, and baking. She was an accomplished ballroom dancer. Throughout her later adult life she participated and offered leadership in the League of Women Voters, AARP-Michigan, church work to provide sanctuary for asylum seekers in Ann Arbor, Days for Girls, and many other charitable organizations. Marian was an advocate for at-risk animals through the Humane Society of Huron Valley. She championed organizations that advocated for immigrants and asylum seekers and supported charities that focused on child abuse, and domestic violence prevention. She continued to work in these areas until the last week of her life. Marian and her husband, Richard Douglass, were actively engaged with the Cancer Support Community in Ann Arbor from December 2014 through January 2020.