Sadly, on the last morning of November, a longtime Bookshare staff member, volunteer, and friend, Mayrie Renae, peacefully died in her sleep. Many Bookshare friends and volunteers are mourning her passing. A friend of hers, Lissi Deren, shared this wonderful eulogy to her life and work with us; we wanted to share it with you.
Mayrie wasn’t finished living and loving and being a dynamic force for good in Bookshare, but she was spared increased suffering as her illness worsened. I finally brought myself to write to you because I think it is better for you to hear this from a friend.
She was an impeccable proofreader and scanner. Initially she set out to make many more books available to young readers. Eagerly she incorporated tips she gathered from this list and was soon developing new ones of her own. She recruited the help of volunteers who, like herself, were committed to dependability and accuracy. Her prodigious output proved to volunteers and to the Benetech staff that blind Booksharians could produce accurate work at speed. In fact, she was hired as a professional proofreader and expanded her skills to include list adviser and technique developer, while at the same time continuing to scan books for longtime friends and newcomers.
Mayrie set a high example of work ethic for volunteers and staff alike. In answering questions on and off the volunteer list, she was patient. Without neglecting the wishes of her friends, she found time to train and channel scans to beginning volunteers. Mayrie and I fed each other’s passion for books and Bookshare.
I want to wind down on a more personal note. I believe Mayrie wouldn’t mind me sharing a few facets of her sparkling personality. She was such an intelligent, vibrant person. There was nothing more satisfying to her than contributing a complete series of books to Bookshare.
She was gleeful when she found ways to work around any roadblocks posed by her blindness.
Mayrie loved books where the woman got her man, as well as mysteries and well-written books for teens and middle school students. She was far more likely to cry tears of compassion than of self-pity. No librarian could have kept the prodigious number of print books she hoped yet to scan better organized.
But think, she was but one of many of Bookshare’s fascinating, vibrant volunteers, staff, and members. With each person lost and gained, Bookshare’s history and future grows richer.
Mayrie left us the link to a song, Don Conoscenti, ‘The Other Side,’ to help us cope with her passing.
Rest in peace, Mayrie, and thank you for all the good you gave the world.
Thank you Marie your work as your co-workers have changed our lives by enabling us to read.