In Memoriam: Marika (Marianne) Gostztonyi Ainley 1937-2008 

Marika Gostztonyi Ainley Magnifying glass

Marika Gostztonyi Ainley

Colleagues, friends and former students were saddened by news that Marika Ainley passed away on September 26 after a battle with cancer.

Ainley began teaching at Concordia in 1988 and was the principal of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute from 1991 to 1995. She then served as professor and chair of women's studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. She continued to teach at UNBC until 2002 and became Professor Emeritus in 2005.

Among the many friends she made at Concordia, Susan Hoecker-Drysdale said this in a recent email: "She was not only a superb person, dear wife and mother, a highly creative artist and photographer, but a great friend to many many people, a dedicated mentor, teacher, researcher, administrator. She bridged the gap between the community and the academy, especially with Native women, in Montreal and British Columbia."

Hoecker-Drysdale contributed to the book Ainley edited in 1989. Against the Odds: Essays on Canadian Women in Science was one of two books Ainley published on the history of science in Canada with Véhicule Press.

Another colleague from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Barbara Meadowcroft, added, "Marika had a gift for friendship. Through her several moves, her circle of friends just kept growing. She kept in touch with all of us in Montreal and never forgot a birthday."

Ainley's varied career began in her native Hungary where she studied industrial chemistry in the ’50s. In Montreal, she registered in English and French literature at Sir George Williams University and earned her BA in 1964. She then earned both her MA and PhD studying the history of science, and eventually returned to teach at Concordia.

While committed to unearthing the often neglected history of women in the pure sciences, Ainley pursued varied interests. She studied pottery in Montreal in the 1960s and turned to painting in recent years. Her work is currently being exhibited at a gallery in Victoria. She was an avid birder and a lifelong naturalist.

Ainley passed away peacefully in Victoria surrounded by her husband David, daughter Vicky, and son Mark, with her sister Gyongyi on the phone. Those who would like to know more about Ainley and her family can visit

A celebration of Ainley's life is being organized on October 18, 2 to 5 p.m. at Goward House in Victoria. A Montreal celebration of her life will be held at a later date, watch news@concordia or the Simone de Beauvoir Institute website for details. Donations in her name can be made to Victoria Hospice Society, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria.


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