Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back from South Carolina

Marjorie Anne Guthrie, age 16, the age at which she married my father.

I suspended efforts here for a few weeks due to the last illness of my mother down in South Carolina.  I am picking things up again. Here is my mother's obit from the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, beautifully written by my brother who lives in Melbourne, Australia:

Marjorie Guthrie Morgan

Nurse- Midwife, Nurse Anthropologist, PhD in Transcultural Nursing

Marjorie Morgan died on March 27, 2012 at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

From going on nursing missions in Benin, Africa to driving the back roads of Horry County, South Carolina providing health care in rural clinics, Marge Morgan was always a trailblazer.

At the age of 64, when most people would be thinking about retirement, she got her Doctorate in Transcultural Nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  Transcultural Nursing was a relatively new field based on the idea that providing effective and caring health services to people from different cultures required an understanding of their cultural beliefs and approaches to medicine.  She specialized in providing medical care to African Americans with an emphasis on those living in the rural South.  In the latter part of her career, she used that knowledge and experience in her work for the Horry County public health department providing pre-natal counseling in rural areas of South Carolina as part of a successful program to reduce infant mortality. 

She was born Marjorie Anne Guthrie on September 7, 1930 in Austin,Texas, the daughter of Edwin and Marjorie (Yarrell) Guthrie.  She married William Durwood Grimmer in 1946 and graduated from Austin High School in the class of 1948.  Soon she began raising a family, and due to her husband’s career, lived in Washington, DC and Cincinnati, Ohio before settling in South Carolina, first in Charleston and later in Myrtle Beach.  In her early years in South Carolina she did various kinds of volunteer work, most notably as a Red Cross water safety instructor teaching swimming, water safety and life saving courses to hundreds of Horry County residents.

She received her RN license from the Coastal Carolina branch of the University of South Carolina in 1970.  She worked for many years at the Ocean View Memorial Hospital and Grand Strand Regional Medical Center as a Head Nurse in the emergency room.  During this time she married her second husband, Tom Morgan, who passed away in 1978.  

She decided to continue her formal education and moved to Columbia where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, cum laude, in 1981 from the University of South Carolina.  She then moved to Atlanta where she received her Masters degree in Nurse Midwifery in 1983 from Emory University.  It was at Emory that she first began developing her interest in transcultural nursing and her masters thesis was on the medical beliefs and practices of the Hari Krishna.

Over the next two years she worked as a midwife in an obstetrical practice in Americus, Georgia before returning to South Carolina to teach in the Nursing School at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.   She later moved to Detroit to pursue her PhD, which she received in 1994 from Wayne State University. Her dissertation was entitled: Prenatal Care of African American Women in Selected USA Urban and Rural Cultural Contexts.

After receiving her doctorate, she resettled permanently in Myrtle Beach and spent the next few years lecturing in cultural anthropology at the Coastal Carolina campus of the University of South Carolina.  It was during this time when she made frequent volunteer trips to Benin, Africa and the Dominican Republic, to provide specialist nursing support, occasionally taking grandchildren with her on these medical missions. She later began her work in pre-natal counseling and family-planning for the Horry County Health Department.
She was on the editorial board of the Journal of Transcultural Nursing for which she wrote and edited articles. She spoke at international conferences on transcultural nursing conducted in Dubai and Australia.

Once retired, she still remained very active in her efforts to help others.  She served as a member of the Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commission and did volunteer work at the Myrtle Beach airport information desk and at Associated Charities.  She was an avid reader and a strong believer in progressive causes.  She enjoyed traveling, swimming, walking on the Grand Strand, spending time at Snowbird Mountain Lodge in North Carolina with friends and family, and solving The Times Sunday puzzle.She was a member of the Pierian Book Club and the Chicora Guild.
Marjorie is survived by her two sons Kim Grimmer (Amanda Kaiser) of Madison, WI, and Gary Grimmer (Debbie Canavan) of Melbourne, Australia, daughter Anne Grimmer of Tallahassee, FL, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and five grand-dogs. She is also survived by sisters Winifred Anderson (James) of Chestertown, MD and Gene Weeks (Devereux) of Athens, GA, the remaining two-thirds of the infamous "Guthrie Girls."

The scheduling of a memorial service is pending. In lieu of memorials or flowers, Marjorie's family encourages you to make a gift to Associated Charities of Horry County or a charity of your choice.

Read more here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/myrtlebeachonline/obituary.aspx?n=marjorie-morgan&pid=156746754#storylink=cpy

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