19th August 1948 – 9th December 2020
Mary Hatchuel – Being with Mary – Cheryl Herbert
Mary’s quiet presence is with me now as I remember her and Nanette Brislin (nee Andersen). As I write this, it is Nanette’s birthday (8th July) and it is also extraordinary that Mary and Nanette shared their date of death of 9th December – Nanette in 2012 and Mary in 2020.
Mary Hatchuel came to the Alexander Technique relatively late in life, turning 60 while on the training course. Mary and I both began our training with Nanette in March 2007 and completed it in March 2011. Apart from the Alexander Technique and Tai Chi, Mary was dedicated to her family and was fulfilled as a mother and grandmother. Mary’s husband, Albert, passed away from cancer in 2004. She is survived by her three children, Jason, Simon and Lara, and her six grandchildren Tristan, Connor, Trey, Eli, Jake and Issy. While she is welcomed by her dear departed, those left behind miss her and the constant support and love she shone on them.
Mary was a wonderfully warm and easy person to be with. She was gentle, kind and careful in her approach to people. She studied and practised meditation and mindfulness throughout her life and this showed in all her habits which were guided by being healthy, present and loving as possible. Speaking to her a few months after her diagnosis of cancer in November 2019, she was calm and accepting. She faced her illness the same way she faced life, by being wisely philosophical and gracious. Her soft smile and voice were very reassuring, as were her hands when we worked together during our training.
A particular trait I appreciated very much was Mary’s ability to reserve judgement. She wanted the best for everyone, and her practice of inhibition was primarily on her inclination to step in and help where she saw a need. Most of her life was in service in some way or the other. She had a sense of peace about her – whether she was knitting her beautiful scarves; making an observation – sagely or with her wry sense of humour; reading Proust, Eckart Tolle, Thich Nat Naht Hanh; sipping her daily coffee. She enjoyed ritual but always brought freshness to her activities. I remember her describing making her bed each morning as a revelation!
Mary did not like anyone making a fuss about her preferring to be in the background. Though her beauty shone and she always stood out from the rest. I am so glad to now think about Mary and let her qualities come to the fore as these live on in my and others’ memories of her.
Mary Hatchuel – Honouring Mary – Heather Marti
It was a great pleasure to train alongside Mary Hatchuel, and I am very sad to hear of her passing. I always admired how Mary carried herself with tremendous poise and grace as though learning the Alexander Technique was a refresher course in certain principles she innately understood and elegantly embodied very naturally. Her exquisite charm, calm demeanour, quiet strength and wisdom were beautiful qualities that brought a harmonious energy to our training school. Mary was a true lady in every sense. I valued her gentle, kind and respectful approach in our work together. I can only imagine Mary, with her distinct aura of refinement and dignity, gliding peacefully along the pathways of eternity where wonderful new journeys beckon, and good friends like Nanette await.
Mary Hatchuel – Memories – Thea Kreft
Beautiful, elegant, regal and upright, is what struck me, when we first met. As I got to know her better, I realised her great love and concern for the wellbeing of her entire family. That is, how I experienced and remember our lovely Mary.
Mary was an Alexander Teacher in training when we met first. When she had qualified, her enquiring mind still had many questions – without answers, which is not bad to suffer from. It was fun and very satisfying to work on discovering new land together. In her teaching she was caring and thoughtful. She worked mainly within her family circle.
Mary was a busy person with many diverse interests. She liked the Theatre, did Tai Chi, looked after her house in Port Alfred, helped with the grandchildren etc. Labour of love! It was not that she had to do things ~ she wanted to do them. I think it gave her pleasure and satisfaction to have achieved, what she had set out to do. I think you achieved it all!
Dearest Mary, for your journey on the other side I wish you well and accompany you with loving thoughts, Yours Thea ❤️🙏
Mary Hatchuel – In Remembrance – Desylee Selkirk Colomb
I met Mary in 1997 when she started having Alexander lessons with me, we reunited when she joined the Alexander training course 10 years later.
I loved being with Mary, apart from her physical beauty and elegance she was wise, gentle, inspiring and really good company. I had the pleasure of going to the Alexander Convention in Lugano with her and Cheryl and thoroughly enjoyed sharing our experience of the work and the many hours of discussing the technique and its application to life, always trying to find the deeper meaning of it.
Whatever Mary did was done with grace and dignity, she exuded the Alexander Technique, her inner stillness and connection to self. She was beautiful inside and out, she was delightful!
Mary Hatchuel – in Fondness – Marguerite van der Merwe
I have a great memory of meandering with Mary during the International Alexander Congress in Lugano, Switzerland, 2008 – walking, talking, enjoying beautiful calm lake Lugano on a warm day – and eating our first ICE-CREAM – using up precious Euros on our last day of Congress.
Such a sense of her innate, gentle, and intelligent dignity and instinctual empathy and compassion. All of which was embedded, practically, in her life, her choices, and within her family. She will continue to live in our hearts and in gratitude for her life ‘well lived’.
Mary Hatchuel – RIP – Marisa Wijtenburg (mutual friend of Jana Cilliers and Mary and fellow Tai Chi Practitioner)
Mary’s path first crossed mine when our children were at Saheti in primary School and the headmaster Morgan Ellis invited parents to join a discussion group where he shared insights on philosophy and literature and stimulated us to think out of the box. We were a relatively small group and we met for a couple of years.
Our paths then diverged until I was fortunate to meet Mary again at Tai Chi. By this stage she had lost her husband Albert to cancer and had focused on training in the Alexander technique which had caused her to take a break from Tai Chi for the duration. It was easy to reconnect and share interests in books and outlook on life. Her gentleness was always an outstanding characteristic as was her independence of thought. She had journeyed from her Anglican- Christian roots through a harmonious marriage with her Jewish husband to including Buddhism in her spiritual realm and mindfulness was the constant thread. She chose to tread gently in the world and to focus on the present moment and to honour her feelings through journaling so that even in the last difficult months she retained her overall peacefulness.
In some ways it came as no surprise to hear that she had been a successful model when young as she retained her elegance and style to the end. However the more lasting testament to her, was the warmth and creativity of her large extended family and friends who so obviously loved and appreciated her and shared their appreciation of the many facets of her beautiful spirit at her memorial and left us grateful for having known her.
Mary Hatcheul – With gratitude – Jana Cilliers
I qualified as a teacher of the Alexander Technique in May 2007. I was about to turn 57. Living in Johannesburg and training in Cape Town under Walter Vaughan Jones, I was in close contact with Nanette Andersen who honed and helped me through my intrepid start as a teacher after the loss of my husband. It was there that I met the long-legged and soft-spoken Mary. She was a quietly keen and dedicated pupil. She wanted to learn more than what life had taught her. Our mutual ground of both being widowed and loving Tai Chi somehow enhanced our interest in Alexander work. We often discussed how the Alexander way is a healthy prerequisite to anything one enjoys doing. Even as an older person. We both experienced how the work played out in our daily lives, family and grandchildren – the essentials of life. Mary had a naughty inquisitive streak though and she knew far more than what came across. To me her deep voice became a sign of how clear her thinking skills were. She finally settled for teaching and engaging with those essential ingredients in her life, her family and friends. I’m today reminded of how important that realisation is, not to force-feed ourselves with what we think the outcome should be. Rather to be on high alert for what is being communicated in the moment through the work. I think Mary innately understood the hidden complexities and subtleties of Alexander hands-on work and the responsibility it brings to teach without endganing. Also, to live a life with consideration in hand, never with effort. And to think independently. Her nature remained gentle until the end. And her inner energy to engage stayed with her until she passed peacefully, surrounded by her family. Rest well Mary.