Jane Marilyn McGuire, previously of Eastsound, WA, passed peacefully in Atlanta, Georgia under the Full Hunter Moon with her family by her side on October 9, 2022. She was a woman of exceptional beauty, humor, determination, and intellect who ultimately spent her professional career promoting spiritual growth and conscious living. Marilyn’s greatest joy, however, was being the mother of her three children Mary-Clayton, Molly, and Tom as well as the beloved “Nana” to her 8 grandchildren.
Born in San Antonio, Texas on January 4, 1936, Marilyn grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and, at sixteen graduated from Shades Valley High School and enrolled at Newcomb College (now Tulane University). Marilyn left college during her freshman year to marry Thomas M. Pearce, a naval aviator and Yale alumnus. Once her three children began attending school full time, Marilyn continued her studies with a focus on Eastern philosophies at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and Samford University. She earned a BA in Psychology, a master’s degree in Philosophy as well as a master’s degree in Education and Rehabilitation Counseling.
While living in Birmingham, Marilyn served as Vice President and Assistant Director of Marketing at First Alabama Bank (now Regions Bank) where she worked for eight years while also teaching yoga classes for bank employees. Marilyn leadership roles included being President of the Women’s Committee of the Birmingham Symphony (1963), volunteering at the Birmingham Museum of Arts and working in Alabama politics for multiple presidential campaigns, as well as many other community projects.
In 1981, upon her youngest child entering college, Marilyn left Birmingham and accelerated her spiritual journey by moving into the Himalayan Institute – a former Jesuit Monastery in Honesdale, PA dedicated to serving humanity through educational, spiritual, and humanitarian programs. Under the tutelage of East Indian scholars focused on yoga, meditation, and holistic health, this time laid the foundation for Marilyn’s subsequent career. After 2 years in the monastery, Marilyn moved to Washington, D.C to be closer to her son. There she founded Energy Unlimited, which consulted with holistic medicine doctors advising on health, wellness, and nutritional doctrines.
In 1986, while visiting her daughter in Seattle, Marilyn traveled to her future son-in-law’s family home on Orcas Island, located in the San Juan Islands of Washington state. She immediately fell in love with the beautiful island’s charm and decided this would be her new home where she could be closer to her daughter. Marilyn subsequently founded NAPRA (New Alternatives for Publishers, Retailers and Artists), which promoted spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change through a variety of forums, including publishing and a trade association which grew to over 12,000 members. She served as NAPRA’s president for over 20 years, working with emerging authors within the mind, body & spirit genre to get their books published and circulated.
In 2000, Marilyn co-founded and served as Director of the Nautilus Book Awards. This program grew steadily and continues today as an international platform to recognize both first-time and experienced authors and publishers. Nautilus’ core mission is to celebrate and honor books that support conscious living & green values, high-level wellness, positive social change, and spiritual growth.
Upon retiring from Nautilus in 2015, Marilyn left Orcas Island for the Atlanta, Georgia area to be closer to family and her Southern roots. After several years at her beautiful home in Serenbe, Georgia, Marilyn’s final home was at Village Park in Alpharetta, Georgia, where she passed with her family by her side.
Marilyn’s grace, spirituality, infectious laugh, and wickedly funny humor touched so many lives. She was a lover of all animals (particularly her cats) and continually demonstrated the virtues of unconditional love for her family and friends. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, and generous friend. Her spirit will live forever, and her memory will always be cherished by all. Throughout her life, Marilyn was an active leader and member of the Episcopal Church.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, Charles Clayton McGuire and Bessie Batson McGuire and grandson, Kyle Thomas Palmer. She is survived by her brother, James Edward McGuire (Brenda) of Mobile, Alabama and sister, Patricia Clayton McGuire Sachs, also of Mobile, Alabama and her three children, Mary-Clayton Pearce Enderlein (Christoph) of Seattle, Washington, Molly McGuire Pearce Clark (Lange) of Birmingham, Alabama and Thomas McCallum Pearce Jr. (Laura) of Atlanta, Georgia. Marilyn is also survived by seven grandchildren: Colin Bjorn Enderlein (Robin), Erik Christoph Enderlein (Merry), Anna Kathryn Clark, Virginia Clayton Clark Basilico (Simon), Adrienne Lange Clark, Anderson McGuire Pearce Graves (Cullen), and Thomas [Cal] McCallum Pearce, III.
A Green Burial and private family celebration of Marilyn’s life will be held in Conyers, Georgia on October 17, 2022. A Celebration of Marilyn’s Life will be held on Orcas Island, Washington in Spring 2023. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given in her honor to The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival at www.oicmf.org or The Orcas Center at www.orcascenter.org
You can watch Marilyn in the PBS video, Exploring Religious America: Spirituality. Marilyn’s segment begins around the 4 minute mark.