Marilyn Hartness

Marilyn Hartness is a survivor of the rare cancer Non-Hodgkin’s Mantle-cell Lymphoma. She is  the author of inspirational memoir Brave the Day: An Account of Surviving Cancer. Marilyn donates half the profits from her book sales to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society for research. Growing up in a rural setting in central North Carolina, Marilyn had instant access to the natural countryside. Nature and wildlife seemed to be a constant source of education and material for art expression and observation. Her parents allowed the outdoors to be the main focus for playtime so Marilyn and her brother, Stephen, enjoyed the natural environment around their home whether it was warm or cold; whether there were bugs or mosquitoes; whether it was day or night.

School time had highest priority for the Houser family since both parents taught and the family of four rode to school together. But, the afternoons found Marilyn hiking the woods; sketching, or riding the horse. Journaling began to be of interest during college and those diaries are still important resources for reminiscing.

Marilyn went to Queens College in Charlotte for Undergraduate Study. Her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree was in Art Education. She found great satisfaction in teaching art techniques to children of all ages. Her Post Graduate studies began at Penland School of Crafts in the North Carolina mountains and then she spent a year at the University of Georgia at Athens. While at Georgia, she concentrated on art history, sculpture and ceramics classes.

In June 1969, she married a man whom she had met at a summer camp when they were both camp counselors. She and John began their life together at Chapel Hill as he completed medical school and she worked on her M.F.A. degree at UNC-Greensboro. John owed the Army some years, so they were stationed in San Antonio where Marilyn taught art in a junior high school, and taught ceramics as an adjunct at Trinity University. After that army tour of duty, they were stationed at Fort Bragg and she was able to complete her M.F.A.

Marilyn has always been connected with horses and also teaching art. The two subjects just seem to go together for her. She and John have lived in many cities and towns and traveled extensively, but their three children top the list on “what they love the most.”

They have one son, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren; and they have two daughters. The power of love holds true as all of them reflect back over the year, 2005, when these family members helped sustain the impact of the life threatening diagnosis of cancer which Marilyn was given. All children were adults with many personal responsibilities other than visiting home, yet they all managed to come at different times.

Marilyn has been a professor in the Art Department of Wingate University for 10 years and she has been supported by everyone; the faculty, staff, and students. To this day, she works full time. Remaining in remission and feeling good is such a blessing. “The more days that I am alive, the more positive contributions I will make to others.”