Aminta Marks died peacefully on December 9th in Princeton. She was 91 years old.
Daughter of John and Blanche (Rockwell) Willis of Horseheads, New York, Aminta graduated at the top of her class from Horseheads High School. In 1946 she graduated from Wilson College with a BS in biology and religion. She then moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where in 1948 she received a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. From Baltimore, she moved on to Princeton Theological Seminary where she received her Masters of Divinity in 1951, and met John Henry Marks.
Aminta and John married July 21, 1951, and soon after, left for Basel, Switzerland, where Aminta picked up conversational German and studied painting, while John completed his doctorate. The following year they returned to Princeton, where with the exception of two sabbatical years in Jerusalem, Jordan, they would spend the rest of their lives.
Aminta held jobs ranging from staff writer for the Princeton Alumni Weekly and biology teacher at Princeton High School, to English teacher at The Lawrenceville School and administrator for a division of Gallup Polls. She was a member of Church Women United and spent many years as a volunteer with the Trenton Children’s Chorus and the Trenton After School Program.
Starting in 1962, the family relocated each summer to Grindstone Island on the St. Lawrence River. There, Aminta enjoyed swimming, gardening, painting, and writing. She was active in island life, which often revolved around the island’s community church. Through her painting, poetry, and later, her weekly column in the local newspaper, The Thousand Island Sun, she chronicled life on Grindstone Island.
Aminta enjoyed people: their stories, their manners, their lives. As her countless paintings and poems indicate, some compiled in her three books, A Pieta for The Dispossessed, Sweet Water And Polar, and So It Is, she observed life’s intricacies and ironies keenly and with kind delight and humor.
Whether in Princeton or on Grindstone, Aminta opened her house to all, always offering tea and cookies. Her legacy is her unyielding love for her family and care for the world. Aminta and John’s fifty-seven years together were rich, and accented with long walks, mutual love, and healthy questioning of dogma. Unaffected and dignified in their life together, they exemplified compassion and decency. Sadly, her husband John died in 2009.
Aminta is survived by her oldest son, Peter, and his fiancé, Mia Williams; her daughter, Fleur, her husband, William Rueckert, and their children, Cleveland and his wife, Grayson, Elizabeth and her husband, Patrick Henry, and their youngest daughter, Julia, soon to be married to Brett Shannon; and her son, John, his wife, Belle, and their children, Phoebe, Anna, and Eliza.
On January 9, 2016 at 11:00 AM a memorial service will be held for Aminta at the Nassau Church in Princeton.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Princeton Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 821, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803.