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On The Mark: Remembering my role model

The death of a beloved elder causes deep mourning. Some of us lose parents way before their time. My father died in a rock climbing fall when I was 27. My grandmother, Ruth Lee Markusen, Cromwell's beloved English teacher for years, died of cervical cancer in 1947, shortly after I was born. It's a blessing when some live long lives. My mother lived to be 89, plenty of time for us to work on her detailed, sometimes funny, life story, painstakingly written left-handed and then typed out on an old machine.

This past week, Rod and I lost our "mother-in-love" as we called her, Siiri Mononen Peterso...