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Mary Cecelia Gunterman Wollman ’37

A picture of Cecelia Gunterman Wollman

Mary Cecelia Gunterman Wollman ’37, November 30, 2006, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, from cancer. Tete attended Reed for five years, completing course requirements for graduation. Her interest in early childhood and progressive education led to a thesis in interdisciplinary study. She spent fall 1936 at the Ojai Valley School in Ojai, California, as a cadet teacher, in order to gain a practical view of the subject. As Tete told Cricket Parmalee ’67 during her oral history interview (March 2003), her interest in education began as a reaction to what was happening to society during the Depression and with the inevitability of a world war. “I felt that everything was going all wrong and that we could try to see if we couldn’t find out how to ‘grow people’ that would have a different orientation toward each other.” After returning to Portland, she observed in nursery schools, and was drawn to write about a movement to provide young children with stories appropriate to their development—realistic, rather than fantastic—supported by the work of Lucy Sprague Mitchell and the Bank Street College of Education in New York. While at Reed, she married Loren Meigs; they then moved to Washington, D.C., where she was a teacher and director of the Georgetown Children’s House. Later, she married Seymour Wollman, a biologist with the National Institute of Science. While carrying for their young family, she participated in co-op schools. In 1973, she attended Townson State College in Maryland, and took positions at the Silver Spring Cooperative School and at a Head Start Center in Washington, D.C., and was also a substitute teacher. In reflecting on her years at Reed, she stated, “I think that, at that time, we didn’t feel we had to be outstanding student scholars. We just had to be intensely interested. And I think I fit that bill.” Her brother, Joseph Gunterman ’34, says that Tete was “a lively, generous, and thoughtful participant in life.” Survivors include her husband, daughter, son, grandson, two brothers, and niece Karen Gunterman ’64.

Tete Wollman was a member of Reed’s Gawdawfuler’s Society. The society’s anthology for 1933–34 included her poem, “Before Rain.”

“Before Rain”

Who threw up against the sky that shaft of brown—
Gold wrought where dips the sun through starring branches?
Who filled my vision with this bold pattern—
Twisted branches, spraying green?
Who caused among these perfect forms
One grim, misshapen limb to shoot?
Who placed across a shadowed valley
A beacon, a crest, sun lit and still?
Who cast a cloud before to dim its gleam?
—Why does the sky weep—silently?

Cecelia Gunterman (November 27, 1933)

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2007

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