Tribute to Marci and Doris

by Lila Vogt and Sally Gibert

Doris and Marci - Photo: Lila Vogt

Doris and Marci - Photo: Lila Vogt

The entire WMC community is saddened at the loss of two of our most venerable and beloved members – Marci Thurston and Marci’s mother Doris Thurston.

Marci first came to the Wrangells with Ben Shaine in 1974. She and Ben first wintered in the Wrangells in 1975-76, marrying and raising two daughters, Gaia and Ardea, and co-founding the college field program in 1983. To better support the college program, Ben and Marci teamed up with friend Sally Gibert (current board member) who had purchased the Old Hardware Store in 1976. Together they founded the Wrangell Mountains Center as a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research, which enabled WMC ownership of the building.

Marci served as WMC President from 1986 until 2006. More importantly, Marci initiated and mentored the communal way of life at the Old Hardware Store that remains a signature of WMC culture. Marci passed away on May 14, 2016, after a long illness.

Doris Thurston often visited Marci and family in McCarthy, from her home in Washington State. When the WMC began a nature writing workshop in 1998, Doris (a published poet, specializing in haiku) became the guest poet offering instruction and inspiration to dozens of writers over many years. She was always an enthusiastic volunteer at the Hardware Store. Her family noted, when she passed on March 21, 2017, that “Doris placed great value in preserving the natural environment for future generations and was committed to fostering a society that demonstrated compassion for everyone.”

The Wrangell Mountains Center owes much of its current culture and success to the efforts, hard work, and inspiration of these two beautiful women.

This is an article from the 2017/18 Hardware Store Herald. Download the full Herald by clicking HERE.