Esta Maril

The Longtime Park School Social Work Consultant Acted As Curator Of Her Husband's Artwork, Archives

April 26, 2009|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,

Esta Maril, a retired Park School social work consultant, died of pulmonary failure April 17 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Mount Washington resident was 87.

Born Esta Cook in Baltimore, she was a 1939 Forest Park High School graduate and earned an English degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

She directed a mental health clinic in Baltimore County before going into private practice as a psychiatric social worker. In 1957, she became Park School's psychiatric social work consultant. She worked from an unmarked office and assisted students and their parents.

"She was skillful and astute in her work," said Parvin Sharpless of Gwynedd, Pa., former headmaster at the school. "She had a sophisticated style of understanding teenage behavior. She knew when the issues were simple and when they weren't."

He said she helped students and their families solve their problems and, when necessary, receive the right counseling and treatment from other professionals she knew in the psychiatric field.

"Many of the families she helped at Park and in her private practice kept in touch with her, out of gratitude, for the rest of her life," said her son, David Maril of Franklin, Mass.

She also created an early childhood development teaching program wherein parents brought toddlers to class and upper school students learned behavioral aspects related to baby sitting and child care.

She was associated with the school for 40 years. In 1997, her final year at Park, the school yearbook was dedicated to her: "Esta Maril works behind the scenes making a difference in our everyday lives. ... She helps to make the transitions from the small kindergarten building to the big building and the Lower to Middle Schools smooth, all the while taking no credit for the immense amount of time she spends making our years at Park happy and rewarding."

She married artist Herman Maril in 1948. Until his death in 1986, they lived most of the year in a Victorian hillside house in Mount Washington, filled with their eclectic antique furniture, potted plants and a series of cats. In the summer, they lived in a converted post office in Provincetown, Mass.

"His paintings hang on the walls of the living room and dining room and hall and a couple more of them are on the floor right here, propped up against chairs," said a 1987 Sun article of their Baltimore home.

After her husband died, Mrs. Maril began organizing his papers and archives from museum and gallery exhibitions culled from his six-decade painting career.

"She worked tirelessly, right up to her death, writing essays for exhibition catalogs, and recording her recollections of the art scenes in Baltimore and Provincetown," her son said.

She recently completed an essay, "The Two Worlds of Herman Maril."

For 15 years, she sat on the A. D. Emmart Memorial Committee, which issues regional writing awards in the humanities. She also served as its president.

She worked with Dr. Ben Massey - president of University of Maryland, University College - and his wife to set up a Herman Maril art collection and to encourage artists to donate work to the school, where Mr. Maril taught.

"One of her favorite hobbies was going to rummages and yard sales in the summer to find items that she knew her friends and families would enjoy," her son said.

A celebration of her life will be held at 5:30 p.m. June 26 at the Walters Art Museum, Charles and Centre streets, where an exhibition of Herman Maril's works will be held.

In addition to her son, survivors include a daughter, Nadja S. Maril Crilly of Annapolis; and three grandchildren.

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