Marjorie Garrity Swift
June 16, 1936 – February 22, 2022
It was the summer of 1993. Special Training was produced by Shihan Linda Ramzy Ranson on the campus of Hofstra University in New York. Emerging from adjacent dorm rooms, we met each other. It was Marge’s first camp, and we went to the opening ceremony together. She was a fierce fighter with a warm and friendly manner. We remained friends for almost three decades.
Her life spanned an arch of two centuries. In 1959, after graduating from Rhode Island School of Design with a bachelor’s and master of Interior Architectural Design, she was one of the few female students. She began teaching at night. Her son Paul had begun training in Uechi Ryu karate with Sensei Charles Earl and suggested she try the class. Marge soon learned there was more to the art than physical skills. It captured her mind and spirit.
In 2004 she was promoted to Godan 5th degree, the first and only woman to achieve that rank under Sensei Earl. After his passing, she continued studying, producing and attending seminars, and teaching women’s self-defense. As her rank advanced, she served on the Titles Committee, examining students and presenting titles internationally. Marge was promoted to Rokudan in 2013, received the title of Renshi in 2014, and ultimately promoted to Nanadan, she remains one of the highest-ranked women in Uechi Ryu.
Neither a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer nor a pandemic could keep her down. She continued in a leadership role remotely. Marge was disciplined, determined, and dedicated. From her first ST, she joined the NWMAF and was a member for the rest of her life. May she Rest in Power.