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Dr. Marion M. Taylor, 76, born in Chicago, passed away peacefully on November 17 at the Fisher House in North Amherst. He met death bravely, among close friends and dedicated students.
Marion studied as a microbiologist but found his true passion in traditional Japanese martial arts for which he was more popularly known. He held senior ranks in Iaido, Karate, Kyudo, and Aikido. Marion worked as director of martial arts in OPRA for 39 years until his retirement in 2012. He is survived by many hundreds of students across the country and friends around the world, all of whom mourn his loss. Marion was an inspiring teacher and timeless mentor to those who carry his legacy through the practices he shared.
In his last moments, Marion’s lifetime as a warrior in this modern age burned fiercely as those among us who were there saw him run swiftly to the threshold of the greatest adventure of all.
In Japanese tradition, the spirit takes 49 days after death to reach nirvana. As his loved ones in the mortal realm, we clap ceremonially or create great booming forces with our voice to awaken the Gods, or kami, to make it known who it is they have coming to them. Until the 49th day on January 5, 2015, I will dedicate all my practices to waking up the Gods so that they may receive Marion properly. No elegant word exists in English for this section of the body but rather than keep Marion in our hearts, best for us to keep him in our bellies, or hara, where in Japanese tradition it is believed the soul resides.
Marion believed and would constantly remind those near him of mujo, the concept of impermanence. Marion takes some measure of pride in being a representative of this now, but only in a certain way. His most precious knowledge remains as proof of his living in those who live as guardians of his memory.
In tribute to Marion, a generous donor has established the Marion Taylor Martial Arts Endowment at Hampshire College to ensure his legacy of teaching and mentoring remains vibrant and active and benefits the next generation of students. To learn more »
Or, contact Clay Ballantine at 413.559.5647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone in the greater Hampshire community who has kept me and all the staff at OPRA in your thoughts.
Yours in martial spirit,
Samuel I. Kanner