After last year's passing of NPR journalist, author, wiccan priestess, and C&C alumna, Margot Adler
, members of C&C's Class of 1960 gathered, both physically and virtually, to pay tribute. Their memories were gathered into this 10-page document
. Classmate Willa Zakin Hallowell
wrote a tribute to Margot which was edited for the recent Alumni Newsletter. It appears in full as an introduction here.
Tribute to Margot Adler: April 16, 1946–July 28, 2014 – C&C Class of 1960
by Willa Zakin Hallowell '60
Margot Adler’s death, at age 68, was a shock to all of us who had known her since childhood. Even though we knew that she had been struggling with cancer for over three years, we still couldn’t imagine a world without this vibrant, multi-talented, larger-than-life woman. She had always been a presence in our lives. Such a premature exit was most definitely not in her plans!
There already have been many tributes to Margot, especially to Margot the public persona. She had a successful three-decade career as a much-admired reporter for NPR, during which she reported on a wide variety of topics. My mother said that she could always recognize Margot’s stories, because they were tightly constructed, well organized, and wonderfully written and spoken. In 1982, Margot received one of the most coveted prizes in journalism, a Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard. Typical of Margot, she decided to take courses with both E.O. Wilson and Stephen J. Gould, who were often on opposite sides of professional issues. She enjoyed being there in the middle, learning from both of them. In addition, Margot was a sought after speaker. It seemed to me that Margot was always either just about to return from or leave for yet another speaking engagement.
Yet, to me and to others in our C&C class of 1960, she was above all our classmate, playmate, and friend. As a child, she displayed many of the qualities and talents that came to be associated with her as an adult. In addition to her native intelligence and her highly developed analytical and writing skills, we all knew that Margot had a beautiful alto singing voice. She and another deceased classmate collaborated on musicals that were just as good as some that have made it onto larger stages. Many of us can still sing the songs these two wrote. On play and sleepover dates she was an imaginative and fun companion, always stepping beyond the barriers of the commonplace into ideas, conversations, and games with which to delight her fellow explorers. I loved sleeping over at her house, because I knew that something exciting was bound to happen. She was also kind, never using her abundant sense of humor against others – something that truly stood out among pre-teen girls!
Since our graduation, Margot proved to be an inspired spokesperson about what C&C had meant to her. She tried to stay in touch with many of us. After all, we had shared the same C&C experiences – experiences that helped define the adults we all became.
Margot was the granddaughter of Alfred Adler, the well-known Viennese psychiatrist. Her father, Kurt, ran the Adlerian Institute in NYC. Margot often joked that becoming a psychiatrist was like going into the family business. So when, instead of following in the footsteps of family members, she announced that she was going into the Wiccan tradition, many people were shocked (my parents included). But those of us who were her friends saw this as another example of Margot’s following her passions and curiosity. She remained a leading member of the Wiccan community until she died.
At Margot’s Memorial service, suitably held on Halloween, representatives from all of Margot’s communities attended, speaking, singing, and celebrating her life together.
For me, Margot was not only a lifelong friend, but one of the most fearlessly original people I knew. She insisted on living life fully and living it the way she wanted to. The fact that she made it work for herself was a beacon for us all.
In 2010, Margot lost her husband of 33 years, John Lowell Gliedman, to inoperable stomach cancer. Our hearts go out to their 23-year old son, Alex Dylan Gliedman-Adler, who was beside Margot during her illness and death.
Click on the links below to read more about Margot’s life and work: