Obituary of Marjorie Ellen Nelson
Marjorie Ellen Nelson Perisho, 83, of State College, Pennsylvania passed away on December 29, 2022, following a stroke. Marjorie was born in Kokomo, Indiana [June 24, 1939] to Earl and Elda Nelson. She graduated from Kokomo High School and continued on to receive a Bachelor of Science from Earlham College, then earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Indiana University in 1965. She completed both her internship and her residency at the Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in the United States, located in central Philadelphia. Her first two months of residency were spent on the hospital ship, Hope, serving medical needs of people in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Her residency also included rotations at the Philadelphia General Hospital and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA.
During her residency Marjorie was deeply involved in the Quaker organization, Young Friends of North America (YFNA). Twice she attended international meetings of the Prague Christian Youth Peace Conference as YFNA's representative. The Vietnam War was raging and in September 1967 Marjorie was on her way to Vietnam with the American Friends Service Committee to provide medical care to civilians suffering from the ravages of the war. Meanwhile, her brother, Beryl, had joined the crew of the Phoenix seeking to deliver medical supplies to both North and South. Three months into her medical work in Quang Ngai, on a visit to Hue, during the Tet offensive, she was taken captive by soldiers of the National Liberation Front (NLF). By that time Marjorie was able to converse in the Vietnamese language and was treated respectfully during her two-month captivity, as detailed in her book, To Live in Peace in Midst of the Vietnam War. Following her release Marjorie returned to Quang Ngai for another year to continue serving those suffering from the War.
Majorie and Robert Perisho were married in 1971. They lived in New Haven while Robert completed his Ph.D. in physics and Marjorie completed a master's degree in Public Health at Yale. Their son, Christopher Robert Perisho, was born in 1972. The family then moved to Pittsburgh where Robert did postdoctoral work and Marjorie worked with Planned Parenthood. In 1975 they moved to Salt Lake City where Robert was to take an academic position. Shortly after their arrival in Utah Robert died of encephalitis. Marjorie served as Medical Director of Planned Parenthood until 1977, when she and Christopher moved to Athens, OH, where Marjorie again served as Medical Director of Planned Parenthood and as a faculty member of the new Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM). Her expertise in public health was important in the early evolution of OUCOM, and her work as a physician was deeply appreciated by her patients and by her professional colleagues in Athens. In Athens she was also a founding member of the Athens Friends Meeting (Quaker). Upon her retirement Marjorie moved to State College, PA, to live at the Quaker retirement community of Foxdale. In State College she became a valued member of both the Foxdale community and of the State College Friends Meeting.
During her life Marjorie enjoyed tai chi and archery and was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. She also wrote the Star Trek novel, Pawns and Symbols, using the pseudonym "Marjliss Larson".
Marjorie is survived by her son, Christopher Clarence Robert Perisho, of Portland, OR, and her brother, Beryl Nelson, of the Turks and Caicos. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Perisho, her bother, Keith Nelson, and her parents, Earl and Elda Nelson.
Memorial services will be held in Athens, State College, and in Michigan at times to be announced. Marjorie will be will be interred in Colfax Cemetery, Bad Axe, MI, at a Nelson family gravesite.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the Quaker UN Office, Friends World Committee on Consultation, Friends General Conference and the Hoai Nam Memorial Scholarship Fund at Earlham College.
The family of Marjorie Nelson wishes to thank Foxdale Village Continuous Care Retirement Community for their caring support and services for many years.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.
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