Saturday, June 23, 2012
In Memory of Fern McGuire Roshi (1937-2012)
Yesterday, Friday June 22 2012, I received this message from Ken Hogaku McGuire Roshi announcing the death of his beloved wife of 55 years Fern McGuire Roshi. She died on her birthday.--Bobby Kankin
A DEEP GASSHO TO ALL
IT IS WITH MUCH SORROW THAT I REPORT TO ALL THAT REV. FERN ROSHI HAS PASSED ON.
SHE WAS FOUND THIS MORNING OUT IN THE YARD LAYING BEHIND THE TRUCK. IT IS CONJECTURED THAT SHE HAD A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK AND WENT QUICKLY AND WITH LITTLE PAIN.
THERE WILL BE A "FRIENDS AND FAMILY" GATHERING ON FRIDAY MORNING STARTING AT 10:00 AM AT THE GETZ FUNERAL HOME. IN KEEPING WITH THE TRADITION FOR MONKS, THERE WILL BE NO FUNERAL NOR ANY CEREMONIAL CONDUCTED OTHER THAN THE SLOW CHANTING OF THE HEART SUTRA BY MYSELF, HER HUSBAND OF 55 YEARS.
PLEASE-----PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG TO ANYONE WHO MAY HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF MEETING THIS EXCEPTIONAL PERSON.
My strongest memories of Fern Roshi was as Ino--the way she chanted the Heart Sutra, especially its introduction, and struck the big bell with such attention and passion. Once, at the Dharma Mountain Zendo in the mountains above Cloudcroft, she asked me to serve as Ino. She wanted to just sit for a change. But she was worried about the big bell. She took care to explain how it should be struck. I was honored. Fern was a quiet but stern lady, truly a farm-raised American citizen who understood the unity of all things. Practicing with her was always a special occasion. I was astonished when I heard from a friend that she suffered back and leg pain. I would never have guessed it. She was a role model for me and others. She knew what it was to practice the Dharma, and her very presence was a Teisho of utmost wisdom.
Below is photograph taken on the day of my Shukke Tokudo Ceremony. Fern and Ken Roshis made the drive down from Las Cruces to be with me and with our Sangha.