Marcia Anne Meyer died on May 21, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana of complications from glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. She was 78 years old.
Born in Bloomington on Nov. 17, 1939, Marcia was the eldest of the three children of Silvon and Dorothy (Utterback) Meyer. After her graduation from University High School, she married Johnnie Lee Watts, and had four children between 1958 and 1963.
After her divorce in 1974, and after her children reached maturity, Marcia embarked on a life-long quest for self improvement, spiritual fulfillment and the betterment of society and the environment. She worked for two years for the Unity Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and then took on various jobs and projects in Indiana, Kentucky, Vermont, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state.
While she came from a family of modest means, and while she held a series of low-level clerical and administrative jobs, she managed to save enough money to be financially independent by the time she reached her mid-40s. She was long associated with the New Road Map Foundation of Seattle, Washington, which promotes frugal living and the careful use of resources. She worked on the organization’s best-selling book, Your Money or Your Life, first published in 1992, and is featured in the book as an example of how the careful management of money and time can allow one to lead an independent and fulfilling life.
Her financial independence allowed Marcia to take on a number of volunteer positions promoting causes about which she cared deeply. Her primary areas of interest were sustainable agriculture and mysticism. She worked at farms in Kentucky, Vermont and Oregon to promote farming practices that eschew pesticides and other unnatural interventions. She also worked on a long-term project in Denver, Colorado to edit the writings and to transcribe the recordings of the mystic, Joel Goldsmith, known for his conception of “The Infinite Way.”
Marcia was particularly fond of life in intentional communities, and she was a valued member of each community she joined. Donella Meadows, the author of The Limits to Growth and the founder of Cobb Hill community in Vermont, wrote in 1995 that Marcia, “perfectly free, no drains on her time, pitches into whatever needs to be done. She volunteers at the local library. She mothers baby ducks and puppies. She squashes potato beetles. She organizes things. When people need listening, she listens. Around her, quietly, smoothly, the world works better.” Similarly, Rhoda Walter, who worked with Marcia at the New Road Map Foundation, writes that “Marcia had a gift for connecting with people, welcoming and embracing them in such a way that they felt valued and respected. She had a knack for community-building, for knitting a community together.”
It is likely that Marcia’s strong sense of community came from her early days in Bloomington. Growing up there in the 40s and 50s, she seems to have known and enjoyed the company of nearly everyone in that medium-sized town. While she lived in states all over the country, she retained an affection for her hometown, and she brought a bit of Bloomington wherever she lived. It is no accident, then, that she returned there for her final years. And, in keeping with her long-term interest in sustainable agriculture, she volunteered for and became a fixture at the Saturday farmers’ market in Bloomington.
Marcia died as she lived her life: with great equanimity and grace. In instructions to her family, composed long before her death, she asked that she not be kept alive by “extreme measures” if she were no longer capable of making a contribution to society. For, as she explained, “I believe we are on earth to make our positive contribution, whatever that looks like, and however large or small that might be.” When it became clear that she was afflicted with a fast-moving and implacable cancer, she accepted her fate with peace and dignity. At the end of her instructions, she wrote, “I have had a fuller, more complete life than I could have imagined, [and] am ready to go on to the next adventure at any time and wish each person to live his/her life as fully as possible.”
Marcia died quietly in the home of her daughter, Mary Susan, in Bloomington, and in the loving embrace of her family and friends.
She is survived by her sister Margaret Meyer of Bloomington and her brother Frederick Meyer and his wife Connie Meyer of Ellettsville, Indiana; by her daughter, Lisa Watts of Federal Way, Washington, her son, Thomas Watts, of Bloomington, her daughter, Mary Susan Shick and husband Michael Shick of Bloomington; her son William Watts and wife Phyllis Watts of Indianapolis; her grandson Aaron Shick and his wife Mollie Shick of Brownsburg, Indiana, and grandson Samuel Watts of Indianapolis, and great-granddaughter, Hazel Shick, of Brownsburg.
A memorial service for Marcia Meyer will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at the First United Methodist Church at 219 E 4th St, in Bloom