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News & Blogs: In Memoriam

Death of former Head of English Nan Martin

vendredi, 19 juin 2015   (1 Comments)
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Nan Martin, 1977Elisabeth (Nan) Martin-Stokes, who taught English at La Grande Boissière from 1952 until 1983, died peacefully in her sleep during the night of 11-12 June 2015. She was 88 years old.

Our sympathies go to her extended family, including her daughters Peggy Sarzano-Martin (LGB '74) and Cathy Chauvet-Martin (LGB '77). The photograph of Nan to the right is taken from the LGB Yearbook 1977.

David Ryan (pictured below, far right), also an English teacher at LGB, from 1969 to 2005, sent us the following note about his former colleague:

"Nan Martin was a competent and well liked Head of the English Department.  She taught both languages A and B (as they were then called!). I had the pleasure of working with her in a combined A/B department in which students were able to transfer, where appropriate, from the FLP to the ELP for their English classes.

She was one of a team of pioneers who developed the notion of the International Baccalaureate and was a passionate believer in the values of the IB. From its inception, she was very active in determining both content and strategy, making her voice and ideas heard in no uncertain terms. She then continued to be involved both as a teacher and an examiner for many years.

In the classroom she stood no nonsense. She was firm but gentle, good humoured and with a ready smile. She will be fondly remembered."

For the past decade or so Nan had been living at the EMS de la Vernie in Crissier, having suffered a stroke in 2005. Her former husband François-Jean Martin, who died in 2004, was well known as a professional photographer in the region and was often called upon to cover important Ecolint events. A collection of his photos now resides in the school's official archives.

Another of Nan's former colleagues in the English department, Elizabeth Knight, has also been in touch and shared a few memories:

"Nan was a very discreet and serious person, dedicated to keeping high standards in her own personal teaching and that of the department when she was in charge for a brief time. Thoroughly professional in her approach, she aimed for a correct and thorough result.

She revealed a lighter side to her personality when she introduced me to the delightful  and eccentric literary figure of Hymen Kaplin, the innocent and hilariously earnest New York immigrant struggling to learn how to speak English and become an American.This little known character has long been added to my list of favourite literary originals and I still quote his naïve wisdom in odd moments. I am grateful to Nan for sharing him with me.

Nan was a devoted mother to her two daughters, Peggy and Cathy. It is never easy to teach and be a mother, especially in the same school. She did an excellent job."


Nan Martin and colleagues 1973
Photograph from the LGB Yearbook 1973: (left to right) R. Shade, Nan Martin, A.D. Campbell, Peter Gras, Diana Vinis, Burton Melnick, Sydney Estrop and David Ryan.


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Donate Dobbernack says...
Posted mardi, 23 juin 2015
On a souvent tendance à croire que nos anciens professeurs, surtout, celles et ceux qu'on a le plus aimés et respectés, sont éternels. Et puis, un jour, on est amené à réaliser une fois de plus que tel n'est hélas pas le cas et on s'en veut de ne pas leur avoir dit à temps que leur enseignement avait été des plus profitable au cours de la vie professionnelle ultérieure. Merci chère Madame Martin de m'avoir si bien enseigné et fait aimer votre langue que j'ai pu la pratiquer sans autres pendant ma vie professionnelle, ce qui a énormément facilité les choses. J'ai souvent pensé à vous quand mon bon accent 'British' d'origine a commencé à prendre des intonations 'américaines' sous l'influence de mon entourage. Je vous vois encore lever vos sourcils, fixer l'élève d'un regard interrogateur et lui dire "Pardon me?", lorsque celui-ci prononçait un mot 'à l'américaine'. Merci pour votre douce fermeté, votre sens de l'humour et votre sourire. Reposez en paix. Donate Dobbernack / LGB '62

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