In Memoriam: Professor Emerita Marjorie Jean Seashore

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 09:48

Marjorie Jean Seashore, faculty emerita in Sociology at SFSU, died Tuesday, April 9th at Stanford hospital, surrounded by family, after an extended illness.  She was 76 years old. 

Trained in psychology at Stanford University, Marjorie did early pathbreaking work on the varied deleterious effects of early maternal separation from child.  Collaborating with researchers in psychology, education, and sociology, this segment of her research is still consistently cited today.  The cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach of this research would be a hallmark of Marjorie’s work throughout her career.

Joining SF State in 1970, Marjorie continued her stellar research, attaining the rank of full professor less than a decade later. Consistently tapped for her intellect, leadership, and collaborative sensibility, Marjorie was a principal figure in establishing many SF State institutions, including the Public Research Institute, the Department of Public Administration, the Department of Child and Adolescent Development, and the Marian Wright Edelman Institute. She consistently pushed to increase diversity within the faculty of these and other institutions. Marjorie also influenced institutions beyond SFSU.  As a co-director of the Bay Area School Development Program, she supported local schools in implementation of an integrated services approach to school reform.

In the few years before her retirement, Marjorie served as Associate Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, helping the College navigate the state budget crises that were challenging the University.  She is remembered as a leader who was fundamentally fair in her assessments and collaborative in her approach.

Younger colleagues remember Marjorie as a wonderful mentor, offering sage advice and useful criticism while being unflinchingly supportive.  She leaves a plethora of scholars across our campus and others whose careers turned toward the better for her active assistance and for modeling what a successful, self-directed career at SF State looks like.

After her retirement in 2004, Marjorie remained active in the University through her participation in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) as both a student and a leader.  She led the establishment of both the OLLI leadership council and the curriculum committee and served on both groups for years. 

A world traveler throughout her life, Marjorie journeyed far and wide with a diverse circle of companions. Including India, Africa, Europe, Central America, Australia, and the Middle East, she packed a lifetime worth of adventures in to sabbaticals, vacations and retirement.  At home in the Bay Area and abroad, Marjorie was an avid supporter of the arts, using public transit to attend theater, ballet, and modern dance, craft fairs, and art museums. She generously shared her love of excellent cooking.

She was devoted to her family and is lovingly remembered by her nieces, Kim Seashore (current faculty in SFSU Math Department)* and Becky (Seashore) May, nephews-in-law Jeff Hobson and CJ May and great nieces and nephews: Natalie, Nicolas, Benjamin, Nathan and Ella as well as circle of close friends and colleagues.

 Marjorie was a quiet person who was not always comfortable being celebrated; she always advised looking forward in life rather than back.  But those of us who knew and were touched by her will reflect on our good fortune in having her rich life intersect with our own.  She will be greatly missed.