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Marie Rering Witt ’69

Marie was born in The Hague, Netherlands, to Dr. Clifford Rering and his wife, Marie, a registered nurse who graduated from Stanford University. After World War II, the family moved to California, where Marie’s sister, Charlotte, and brother, Johan, were born. Marie completed grade school in Ukiah, where she was also a helper in her father’s radiology practice.

When she was 12, she was sent to a Dutch/English boarding school. By the time she was 16 years old, the whole family had moved to Zeist, Netherlands, and Marie attended the International High School in The Hague. She studied mathematics for a year at Utrecht University, and then without ever visiting the campus beforehand, transferred to Reed. Although she had funds, Marie worked as a secretary for the chemistry department and as a babysitter for her psychology adviser. She wrote her thesis, “Behavior Modification of a Disruptive Five-Year-Old in a Head Start Program,” with her advisor, Prof. Carol Creedon [psychology 1957–91].

Marie met her future husband, Lawrence Witt ’70, when he became a single parent and enlisted her family to babysit his son, Larry Jr.

After graduation,Marie finished her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Oregon, and Lawrence completed a master’s degree in counseling psychology. In August 1972, they married at the stone lookout atop Cape Perpetua, south of Yachats. The next 10 years were spent traveling to more centers of learning. Marie spent a year completing an internship in Houston, and Larry went to medical school in San Antonio, followed by a residency in San Joaquin County, California. After his residency, they spent three months traveling around the country in a motorhome to decide where they wanted to settle and set up their respective practices. They settled in Brookings, approximately six miles north of the California border. Marie spent the next 35 years raising their two boys and working in her private practice.

The family traveled often, guided by a philosophy that money would be spent on travel and educational experiences for the children—living in the moment rather than saving for retirement. She and Larry practiced together, collaborating and consulting daily for 25 years. In her last years she was devastated with limited systemic sclerosis, and admitted to the hospital 14 times for seven major surgeries. Through it all, she was tough and resilient. She passed away peacefully with her family at her side. Lawrence survives her, as do her sons, Christopher and Matthew, stepson, Larry Jr., and stepdaughter, Pamela.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2017

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