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Marianne Bluger - Obituary

Aug. 28, 1945 - Oct. 29, 2005, dearly beloved wife of Larry Earle Neily.

Marianne Bluger
Marianne Bluger was the daughter of Ruth Anna Bluger née Mallory (b. 1920) and Walter Vladimir Bluger (b. 1917, d. 1986). Her first and brief marriage was to the prominent Zen master Samu Kim of Toronto with whom she had two children, Michael "Maji" Kim (b. 1969) and Micheline "Agi" Mallory (b. 1970), whom she raised. She met Larry Neily, a passionate Nova Scotian birdwatcher in 1989, and they became devoted to each other from that time. They were married in 1991. They rejoiced in their shared love of nature and she dedicated most of her ten books of poetry to him. She co-founded the Tabitha Foundation, an organization bringing hope to Cambodia, of which Larry is currently President. She was an Anglican well trained in Zen who also cherished her Jewish roots. Her latest book, The Eternities, is a tribute to her faith and to her father, a mathematician and Holocaust survivor.
For twenty-five years Bluger administered the Canadian Writers' Foundation, which provides assistance to authors of note who have made a significant contribution to Canadian letters but who are in financial need. She worked for almost 20 years with Cdr. C. H. Little whom she greatly admired for his accomplishments in war work, scholarship and later as a philanthropist. She also enjoyed working with many other distinguished Canadians on the Board.
Bluger won many honours for her poetry including Canada Council and the Archibald Lampman awards. She was well known in the USA and Japan for her lyrics and for her tanka and haiku. Her volumes of lyric poetry include: The Thumbless Man is at the Piano (Three Trees - 1981), On Nights Like This (Brick Books - 1984), Gathering Wild (Brick Books - 1987), Summer Grass (Brick Books - 1992), Scissor, Paper, Woman (Penumbra Press - 2000), and The Eternities (St. Thomas Poetry Series - 2005). A final manuscript, Nude with Scar, was completed only a month before her death. She wrote two books of haiku, Tamarack and Clearcut (Carleton University Press - 1997, with photos by Rudi Haas) and Early Evening Pieces (Buschek Books - 2003). Gusts (Penumbra Press - 1998) was the first book length collection of tanka published in Canada. She had a second book of tanka called Zen Mercies / Small Satoris (Penumbra Press - 2005).
At McGill University in the sixties she become friends with Louis Dudek, the poet, and Raymond Klibansky, the head of the Philosophy Department. She remained friends with them, and with the poet George Johnston, whom she also greatly admired. All three died in recent years.
Bluger co-founded Christians Against Apartheid. She worked for many years with great dedication both in secret and openly to help bring down the evil regime of Apartheid in South Africa. The church network that was able to do so much to topple the oppressors, and the example of the church women of South Africa who suffered so much, taught her the most important lesson of her life: that Christ will never fail the one who loves and trusts Him.
It was this one lesson which made her say "Yes" when Janne Ritskes asked her to help set up a foundation of healing work in the wrecked country of Cambodia. This work has been incredibly successful.
Bluger had suffered from breast cancer since 1992 and for the last six years was practically an invalid. She is survived by her devoted husband Larry Neily of Ottawa; her two children, Michael "Maji" Kim of Vancouver & Micheline "Agi" Mallory (Karl) of Victoria; granddaughter Anna Catherine Mallory of Victoria; her mother Ruth Anna Bluger of Ottawa; her sister Frances Ursula Emory (Robert) of Barnstead, NH; two brothers Father Thomas Alexander Bluger of Ottawa and Henry Vincent Bluger (Michelle Evans) of Victoria; niece Jessica Emory of Barnstead, NH; nephew Lee Evans of Victoria; mother-in-law Vivian E. Neily of Tremont, NS; brother-in-law Wayne P. Neily of Tremont, NS.
Marianne was grateful for all the loving care that allowed her to die at home, where she had been so happy. At her request, there will be no funeral. A simple family-only ceremony will be held at the Pinecrest crematorium chapel. She requests any donations be made in her name to the Tabitha Foundation (Canada), Box 65057, Merivale Postal Outlet, Ottawa, ON K2G 5Y3 or Canadian Writers' Foundation Inc., Box 13281, Succ. Kanata Stn., Ottawa, ON K2K 1X4.

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