Marie Hunter, the only daughter in a family of five, was born in Newton Grange on the on the 20th of October 1944, to parents Ona, a first generation Lithuanian Scot and Szymon Szatylowicz, a Pole from the town of Czermcha in North East Poland.
Ona, whose parents had emigrated from Lithuania to Edinburgh early in the 20th century, met and married Szymon, who had arrived in Scotland with the Polish army in 1940.
Marie was born, raised and educated in and around Newton Grange, and was employed locally as a shop assistant before joining the Women’s’ Royal Air Force as a Nursing Assistant aged seventeen. She was stationed at the El Adam base in Libya and it was here she met future husband Bill who worked for the RAF.
They had met early in 1964 and were married in Newton Grange Church on Dec 5th of that year and Marie promptly de-mobbed on the 6th! Her reference from the Air Force summed her up perfectly stating that “this girl has shown an aptitude with children and babies” an aptitude that she would put to good use in the future.
The family were briefly stationed in Northolt prior to Bill leaving the service in 1968 and returning to Scotland with Marie and daughters Angie and Tracy, who were later followed by twins Debbie and Darren.
The family all talk proudly about their Mum, saying that they would take their problems to her as they felt they could tell her anything and everything, knowing she would sort it out. But it wasn’t only her family’s problems that Marie sorted out. She and Bill were Foster parents. Starting in 1976 they fostered over two hundred children over the next thirty five years. A staggering achievement.
These children, some of whom stayed for a couple of days, whilst others stayed for over ten years, were taken in and loved as part of the family. Marie never told others that the children were being fostered only that they were “visiting for a holiday” and Marie’s insistence that families would not be split up meant that there were often up to four “guests” visiting. Tragically Marie was troubled with ill-health which she fought courageously, twice overcoming life threatening cancer. With the re-appearance of Cancer for the third time her health deteriorated and she was admitted to hospital at the end of December 2012.
When she realised that the situation was terminal Marie requested that she be allowed to return home, which she did at the end of January, where she was looked after by the family. Tragically her brave fight ended and she passed away peacefully on Sunday the 10th of February 2013.
Marie will be remembered as a much loved daughter, wife, sister, mother, granny, great-granny and foster mother.