Mara Chibnik

I am saddened to report the death of my good friend Mara Chibnik, in New York City, of pancreatic cancer. Starting in the 1980s, Mara became a mainstay of the newsgroup soc.motss and the social life (including gatherings, like the annual motsscons) surrounding it, and a close friend of many of the regulars on that group; she became part of the soul of this social world. Her role was as a wise, sympathetic, supportive, and good-humored visitor from the straight world, and we all miss her terribly.

Mara’s education: an A.B. in French from Brown (1963-67); doctoral work at Columbia in French and Romance Philology, 1967-73; a Sc.M. in Computer Science from Princeton (1987-89). She worked as an administrator at PANIX networks in New York City (ultimately as director of policy and customer services), almost up to her last days; when she got the death sentence, back in the fall, she worked to put everything in order for the rest of the staff (and the people she maintained websites for). She started a “How I Am” blog on October 29th and kept in touch with her wide acquaintanceship through it; her last posting was on March 23rd. Eventually, on her blog every day became Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving!, she wrote.

On Facebook and Google+, people have been posting photos of Mara (usually with her husband, Martin Smith, and often a collection of motssers as well). Remembrances of good times.


3 Responses to “Mara Chibnik”

  1. Mikki Barry Says:

    So very sorry to hear of this. I met Mara on the Usenet what seems so very long ago. Her wit and humor will be sorely missed. I’m very sad to say that we lost touch, as I have with many old friends, and for that I am very sorry. Her family and friends are in my thoughts. May her spirit soar.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    An endearing footnote: for complex reasons, Mara’s nickname on soc.motss was Cobra Woman (or C.W. for short), so Marty was of course the Mongoose.

  3. Laurie Mann Says:

    So odd. I was organizing printed photos today and saw a photo from a lunch in the early ’90s that I think Mara was at. I dropped by soc.motss for the first time in years and saw a note about her death. I’m sorry to hear about this.

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