A few weeks after I finished posting these letters, I came across a copy of Marcy’s obituary, which I assume ran in a Palo Alto-area paper sometime in November. Here it is.
Marcy Hartman, a freelance editor and Palo Alto resident, died Tuesday in Washington state at Health Institute Alive Fellowship, to which she had been admitted three days earlier. She was 37.
Mrs. Hartman had suffered from leukemia for nearly seven years.
A native of Philadelphia, she had moved to Ramona Circle in Palo Alto from Sonoma 2½ years ago.
She had earned a degree in elementary education from Antioch College, and had worked in various nursery schools, before turning to freelance editing.
Surviving are her husband, Peter, assistant design programmer for Logical Machine Corp. in Sunnyvale, and two sons, Jed, 12, and Joaquin, 10, all of the family home; and her mother, Ethel Mondress of Philadelphia, Pa.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Nov.23 at the Church of World Messianity, 15 Willow St., San Jose. Mrs. Hartman had been a member of the church for 12 years.
Memorial gifts to M. Okada Cultural Association, 15 Willow St., San Jose, 95110 are preferred by the family.
- Health Institute Alive Fellowship
- Web searches suggest that this was really the Alive Fellowship of Harmonious Living (where Alive is short for “A Living Inner Vitality Experience”), a nonprofit that had developed out of a for-profit company called the Polarity Health Institute. PHI was originally founded “to promote the understanding of energy and its function in the human body as developed by Dr. Randolph[…] Stone (a philosopher, Chiropractor, and Osteopath who retired in 1973),” according to 1984 legal proceedings. When it shifted to a nonprofit, the AFHL promoted “Polarity theology” and worked to “[enable] the individual to look into his own mind and to root out those diseased parts that have caused depression, insecurity, confusion, loneliness or unhappiness that has led to imbalances elsewhere in his body.”
- I see that Polarity Therapy is still around. Their website says: “Polarity Practitioners do not diagnose or treat illnesses; rather they assess where you are out of balance energetically, and support you coming back into balance naturally. It is not intended as a replacement for other forms of therapy or healthcare.”
- I still don’t know whether Marcy went to AFHL with the hope of getting better or whether she went there expecting to die, but nothing that I’m finding about AFHL talks about them as a place that cares for people who are dying, so I’m guessing the former. I don’t know what led her to AFHL—she certainly had connections to lots of other alternative medicine, but this particular kind isn’t something that I’ve heard of before.
- See also an ad for Alive Polarity in a 1981 issue of Vegetarian Times (p. 83).
- “nearly seven years”
- That’s really confusing. It does match what I had remembered being told as a kid, that Johrei kept Marcy alive for six years longer than the doctors expected; but it doesn’t seem to match what I thought I had understood from these letters, where there’s no mention of any kind of blood-related illness until early 1977, and no mention of anything other than anemia until 1978. So I’m now even more confused than I was before about how long she was ill and how long she knew it was leukemia.