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My Friend Marguerite

July 25, 2011

BY JAAN LAAMAN

“Marguerite Cole Koester, 84, died peacefully surrounded by her family on January 6, 2011.”

Marguerite was a friend of mine, a friend of 4sm and political prisoners in general. I got to know Marguerite almost 20 years ago, when I was in Leavenworth Penitentiary. In the early 1990s, The Guardian (independent radical weekly) newspaper, ran a series of articles on political prisoners in the United States. I was featured in one article and as a result, received a good handful of letters from various random people. Marguerite wrote to me and we never stopped corresponding.

She was a little older than me and shared many interesting and informative stories about attitudes, life and struggle before and during World War II. Marguerite was a consistently progressive and justice striving individual. She was a supporter of political prisoners, an anti-war activist and seriously disliked George Bush and his wars. Marguerite truly cared about people, she cared about this country and our whole world.

I will miss my old friend and I’ll end by reprinting part of her obituary from a local Akron, Ohio paper.

“Born in Pittsburgh, she moved to Akron with her family in 1976 and came to consider it her home. She always said her greatest accomplishment was her nine children, who had the profound privilege to be raised by this extraordinary woman. Intelligent, well read and unabashedly liberal in her politics, she taught us all about activism and social justice. She volunteered for the American Friends Service Committee and worked for Planned Parenthood. She once had business cards printed that read, “Marge Koester, Knitting and Peace Consultant.” “Momma Blossom” was a spiritual person who loved music, poetry, laughter and, above all, family. She maintained the art of letter writing throughout her life, corresponding with friends, family, prisoners and well known figures…”

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