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Margaret Nelda Cottier
13-10-2011, 05:44 PM, (This post was last modified: 13-01-2012, 01:39 PM by pstorfer.)
Margaret Nelda Cottier
13-10-2011, 07:31 PM,
RE: Margaret Nelda Cottier
I was deeply affected by Margaret's unexpected death, as I expect all of you were.
Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the funeral as I imagine is the case with so many of us who live abroad.
Nevertheless, thank you Peter, for opening this forum so we can express our thoughts about Margaret and share them.
I, personally, will always remember her both as a marvellous teacher and a deeply caring human being.
I feel privileged to have shared many a summer course and theatre production over the years and thank her (and Peter!) for the immense joy she bought to us all.

Rest in peace, Margaret.

Isabel Tornero (Barcelona)
22-10-2011, 02:03 PM, (This post was last modified: 22-10-2011, 02:05 PM by pstorfer.)
Rainbow  Funeral tribute for Margaret
Margaret was a good friend. She was also one of the most compassionate and generous people I have ever met. Sometimes she was frustratingly compassionate, but this was what made her such an inspiring teacher. She loved people, and because of this, she loved theatre. Margaret asked me to do two things at her funeral: sing the Mourners’ kaddish, a Jewish prayer for the dead, and to talk about what we do, teaching in adult education. She added that she wanted me to keep politics out of this. She knew me too well. I laughed and negotiated with her. She said she wanted to have the kaddish not because she was religious in any way but because she embraced the beauty of the human spirit expressed in all religions. To save everyone’s eardrums, we agreed I would play the Mourners’ kaddish, which I shall do at the end of this tribute.

It is difficult to speak about adult education without becoming political. Phrases like ‘recreational education’ and ‘the funny little things adults do in their spare time’ set Margaret’s teeth on edge. I think Margaret was deeply saddened by what she perceived as a gradual erosion and denigration of non-vocational adult learning — what she termed liberal studies. Margaret passionately felt that for those who wanted to obtain certificates, diplomas and degrees there should, of course, be state subsidised provision. However, she felt just as passionately that diplomas and certificates did not define the educational process. There ought to be similar provision for those who simply wish to learn, regardless of the end point, if any, of this learning.

Margaret introduced me to adult education and guided me throughout my career. Early in my teaching career I shared with her a moment which she understood implicitly. At the end of my first year teaching for the Department of Extra-Mural Studies at my class in Northwood, an elderly man, very dapper, usually very diffident, came up to me and said: “Thank you. My son graduated from Oxford 30 years ago with a degree in English, and we have never been able to talk about that. I feel I can talk with him now.” Nothing more needed to be said. I was quite overwhelmed. This is the value of liberal adult education. This was the vocation to which Margaret devoted her life. This is what all of her students and those who knew her loved and admired in her.

02-11-2011, 12:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 13-01-2012, 01:35 PM by pstorfer.)
RE: Margaret Nelda Cottier

Here are some photographs which Jacquie Cadge, Margaret's oldest friend, sent to me. They show a very young Margaret as a Godmother. I thought you would enjoy viewing them.

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07-11-2011, 02:23 PM,
RE: Margaret Nelda Cottier
I have had this email from Stephen Kudless who has asked me to post it on line.

Dear Peter,
Julia e-mailed that she attended Margaret's funeral service and I was so glad to hear that it was more a jubilee of Margaret's life than a dirge of her sad passing. I was so pleased that you delivered the eulogy. Of course, you knew her far more intimately than I, but I imagine that this is what that grand dame would have requested. And, as I may have mentioned before, she was--for me-- a mentor and a muse.
My final encounter with her was on the Tuesday of the second week of last July's course--in which I was not enrolled since I had to fly out on Wednesday. I had gotten a ticket from you for "Cherry Orchard" at the RNT. As I stepped off the # 168 bus on Waterloo Bridge, there she was---in full raiment-- raincoat, umbrella, kerchief, and those damned heavy-looking bags--climbing down the stairs to the promenade level. She declined help with the sacks and I joined her, Gudrun, and Helga for a nice bite at the cafe in the theatre complex not too far from the bookstore. We talked about vegetarianism, Eastborne, and my vodka and tonic! She never mentioned any illness or distress. She was the first to leave the table and I shall always remember her parting words--the last I heard her utter:
"Well, I must go to the front of the theatre. I shall see you anon."
Yes, she said, "Anon." That word fell from her lips so appropriately and fittingly as any other. Only Margaret could do that!

So, I hope you have a good autumn/winter. My summer plans are in flux as I have retired from the college. I know, however, that the course will endure and I look forward to participating in it for years to come.

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