OBITUARY

Joan H MARKS

February 4, 1929September 14, 2020

Joan H MARKS was born on February 4, 1929 and passed away on September 14, 2020 and is under the care of Riverside Memorial Chapel.

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Memories

Joan H MARKS

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Vickie Hannig

September 20, 2020

My condolences to Joan's family.

I will always be grateful to Joan for creating the profession of genetic counseling and for accepting me into the Sarah Lawrence Program in 1979. I feel incredibly lucky to have had so many great years in the ever changing field of Genetics with the privilege of interacting with wonderful patients and health care professionals, including so many genetic counselors.

Thanks again, Joan for all you did for Genetics and genetic counselors!

ELIZABETH GETTIG

September 20, 2020

Joan was a transformative figure. She created a highly respected medical profession, genetic counseling, out of nothing. She championed the profession throughout her life and served as a role model for thousands.
Joan loved her cherished husband and family. She instilled in her children and graduates strong values that have served them well. She will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.
For some, Joan was a bit intimidating but once you knew her, it was a well used ploy. Her silence was deafening at times and rattled your nerves a bit but it was a fair tool to teach you the importance of listening. I owe everything in my life, professional and in many ways personal, to Joan. I was a kid who grew up on a red clay road (dirt road to non-Southerners) in North Carolina and had accomplishments beyond anything I could ever imagine. Somehow Joan saw something in me; something I was unaware of myself. I am beyond grateful.
We shared may laughs and a few drinks. She will always be my mentor and I will miss her profoundly.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."
You allowed genetic counselors to touch so many lives and you touched each of ours. My condolences to her treasured family. Thank you, Joan. I will always love you.
Betsy Gettig

Pat Schoenfeld

September 17, 2020

My favorite teasing to Joan was that i always remembered her birthday. Hers was February 4 and mine is April 4. She was 3 months older than me. I always reminded her of this.
We had so many wonderful trips as couples and Joan with me. And How could I forget our stomping for Hilary.
My love and condolences to all of you.
Pat Schoenfeld

Karlla Brigatti

September 16, 2020

Joan was a tour de force and a towering figure in the profession of genetic counseling. She anticipated the burgeoning need and importance for genetic counselors in healthcare and made sure we were prepared for the job. She was one of the major reasons I elected to go to Sarah Lawrence for Human Genetics training, and she advocated on my behalf throughout my time in the program and well beyond it. During our many conversations in her office at Slonim House, I felt like she really listened, and she had a way of making me feel important and understood, despite multiple demands on her time and energy. Joan knew that GC students needed to be involved in clinical research, and her instrumental role in making us part of the NY Breast Cancer study was a win-win for the study and our training. I remember our times in Slonim fondly and still recall some of the guest lectures she arranged in Issues in Genetic Counseling as among the most important of my academic career. Joan was formidable but warm, and I recall the pride my class felt that she chose to "graduate" with us when she did, leaving a program that indelibly shaped the profession and for whom it is so aptly named. I am fortunate to have known Joan, and send my deepest condolences to her family. Her children and grandchildren were her pride and joy, and I felt as her student an extension of that warmth. Joan Marks was a true inspiration as a person and woman of science. She will be missed.

Kathleen Valverde

September 16, 2020

I want to express my deepest condolences with the Marks family. Joan was a mentor and friend of mine since the early 1980's when I met her as a genetic counseling student. My professional trajectory changed after receiving a call from her in the fall of 1989. She asked me to make a wish list of everyone I would invite to a CF conference to be held at Sarah Lawrence College to discuss how to implement population carrier screening for CF. Joan secured funding for this event, and it was a complete success. A small group of SLC alum were invited to dine with Joan in her home after the program, and she was a gracious host. Shortly after that, she asked me to join the Sarah Lawrence College Genetic Counseling Program as the fieldwork facilitator and prepare the first ABGC accreditation self study. I was honored and humbled to be chosen for this role among the many distinguished genetic counselors in NYC. Joan was grooming me to become a program director, although I did not know it at the time. As I work with students today, I instill the same values that Joan taught me many decades ago. On a personal note, as a member of a BRCA 1 family, Joan and Paul supported my sister with her breast cancer diagnosis, and the exceptional care that she received at Memorial Sloan Kettering is why she is a 20+ year cancer survivor. The genetic counseling profession lost one of its fiercest champions, but those of us who knew and worked with Joan will continue her legacy.

Sonia Beatriz Margarit

September 16, 2020

I have very fond memories of Joan.
I met Joan in 1995 at my interview to enter Sarah Lawrence's genetic counseling program, where one of my legs fell asleep, and when I stood up to say goodbye I suddenly fell to the ground; we both laughed and she warned me to be careful because she broke her leg like that – from that moment I felt a bond with Joan and knew she was someone I could go to and look up to.
Joan was an immense support during the program for many of the students, and especially for me (I hailed from Argentina). During the course of the program. I separated from my husband, so all of the sudden I was an unemployed graduate student with a small child and was thinking of leaving the program. When I talked to Joan, she simply picked up the phone and found me a summertime job in a lab. In a matter of seconds, the problem was solved.
That was how she was; she always found a way to solve things.
After my graduation, years went by, and I to Chile closer to my family in Argentina. On one of my trips to NY fate had Joan and I meet again at all places my son's high school graduation´s party! The funny thing was, it was in a private apartment, and suddenly I see Joan: I was so surprised to see her there that I yelled: “Joan Marks, what are you doing here?¨ To which she replied: ¨What are you doing at my granddaughter´s graduation party?!"
What a coincidence!! The world is a handkerchief!
Although we never saw each other again, I will always remember her fondly. She had an unparalleled presence and she taught me to cope even in the most difficult moments of my life. It also has helped me during all these years of being the only genetic counselor in Santiago, Chile. Joan was always a great inspiration for aspiring genetic counselors, many of whom have become top of the field genetic counselors. She will always remain a true legend that strongly influenced and developed the field of genetic counseling, and with a warm heart. I am very fortunate to have met her.

Betsy Vibert

September 16, 2020

My condolences to the Marks family. Joan was a visionary and a mentor for so many of us in the field of genetic counseling. She will be missed. She had a knack for encouraging us all to be the best we could be, as individuals and as genetic counselors.

Nancy Zellers

September 16, 2020

My sincere condolences to the Marks family. I am a 1979 graduate of the SLC Human Genetics Program, and will never forget my interview with Joan. She was delighted that I was from New England, as she was, and she put me right at ease. She was a leader, visionary and extraordinary woman, and I will be forever grateful that I had such a wonderful career because of her vision, and her dedication to that vision, of creating the exciting and ever challenging field of genetic counseling. Thank you, Joan, and may you rest in peace forever. You will not be forgotten.

Abbey Rosenwald

September 16, 2020

Your mom was a beloved friend! Always
Fun and loving..always determined to
To see and do everything.. There is not a plant sale or a tag sale that we did not go to.. She had impeccable taste , extraordinary energy and a great giggle..I will miss my friend!
Abbey Rosenwald

Kathleen O'Connor

September 15, 2020

Deepest sympathies to the Marks family. I graduated from the Human Genetics Program in 1979, when almost no one knew what a genetic counselor was, much less why they would want to hire one. The profession has grown and flourished, in large part because of the visionary leadership provided by Joan. As others have said, I too made lifelong friends at SLC and subsequently working with outstanding genetic counselors. I have always felt blessed that I found such a rewarding career, and we were well prepared to meet the challenges. Joan will be greatly missed, but her memory as an outstanding teacher, mentor, and caring
person will live on.

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