On August 15, SSML lost Marc Van Wormer, 77, who not only made the arrangements for the conferences, a complex and demanding job, but often as a member read fascinating and sometimes hilarious creative nonfiction at the Symposium. He was also a valued member of the society’s corporate board. Marc encouraged new members to continue with the organization and recruited new ones. He taught Humanities at Lansing Community College for many years, where he always encouraged his students to write and express their creativity and ideas. A man of many interests, from medieval lithographs to ancient Chinese studies, he loved travel, reading, good conversation, and his many friends. His sometimes outrageous generosity made him a hero to many, though he never boasted or made it public. He truly believed in the innate beauty and potential in people, was endlessly supportive, kind, and truthful. To some of us he was a storyteller, especially one who preserved tales of SSML founder David Anderson and other colorful and loyal members of the Society. He also wrote a play which was performed in Lansing in 2015 about life as a young, struggling student at the University of Chicago, which sold out and was very well received. He was a student of history, a professor, writer, storyteller and true friend to many, and he will be deeply missed. He is survived by his mother, Gola Bitterman, daughters Amy Gray and Laura Pottorf and granddaughters Helen Murphy and Lillian Murphy. (Thanks to Mary Obuchowski and Kari Smith for helping to compose this tribute and for locating photos.)
A memorial service will be held at the Kellogg Conference Center in East Lansing on September 1st in the Corniche Room from 2:00-4:00 p.m. You can view Marc’s obituary in the Lansing State Journal here.