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White-Blossoms

Marianne L. Keswani (Colberg)

December 3, 1931 ~ October 7, 2019 (age 87)

An endless warmth and a twinkle in her eyes expressed the essence of a beautiful soul who was born December 3, 1931 in St. Peter, MN to Amy and Andy Colberg.

Marianne graduated from St. Peter High School at 16 and from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BS in Chemistry & Biology and minors in Mathematics & Philosophy. Marianne began a career in biochemistry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in 1953.

At Mayo she met Dr. N. H. Keswani, with whom she would share 54 married years. They were the first to be wed under the new “Inter Community Marriage Act” of 1955 in India. Marianne and Nand made their home for 22 yrs at AIIMS, New Delhi. In 1973, the family moved to St. Peter where she worked at GAC for 25 years, the last 15 as Foreign Student Advisor.

Marianne will be missed greatly by her brother, Rev. Charles Colberg (Dodee), her children Rajan (Eileen), Ashwini (Sue), Amyanne Cope (Stanton), Sushil (Photine Liakos), grandchildren: Max, Charlie, Ben, Kemmer, Stanton, Elina, Magnus, and great grandchild, Khan as well as numerous beloved nieces, nephews, students, and friends around the globe.

The Keswani family extends deep gratitude to Healtheast Hospice and St. Andrews Village for the care provided.

Marianne passed peacefully on October 7, 2019. Funeral will begin 12PM Friday, October 11 at BRADSHAW, 4600 Greenhaven Drive, White Bear, with visitation beginning at 10:30.

In lieu of flowers, kindly designate donations to “Keswani Family Fund” of the American Academy of Pediatrics at donate.aap.org or the Andrew Nelson International Student Scholarship at Gustavus Adolphus College.

 

A HISTORY, BY MARIANNE:

These Five

My father, Andrew Colberg, born in 1903, was the youngest of seven children blessing the APJ Colberg family in Lake Prairie. Being the youngest had the disadvantage of always being the one called to help with whatever chores needed to be done. Andrew was a good worker and willing to learn from his elders. (When he was born his eldest brother had just finished courses at Gustavus and was heading to medical school while another brother was just beginning high school.) Andrew was only 8 years old when his father, editor of the Swedish newspaper Stats Tidning, a very successful newspaper in those times, passed away. Being the youngest, he was only able to attend the Academy at Gustavus for one year prior to venturing forth on his own. Andrew met and married another child of Swedish immigrants, Amy Edna Albertina Sjostrom of New Sweden in Scandian Grove Lutheran Church in Norseland on June 26, 1930. They began farming a small piece of land across from the Colberg farm. When prices for eggs were six cents a dozen, Daddy changed jobs and worked for the WPA. They moved to St. Peter and that’s where I grew up.

Gustavus Adolphus College seems an integral part of our family My father’s grandfather, Andrew Nelson, was instrumental in moving St. Ansgar’s Academy from Red Wing to St. Peter as Gustavus Adolphus College. Needless to say, this took several meetings of the church conferences. Except for my father, who only had one year, the other memebers of the family are graduates. Since my parents wanted me to stay at home, Gustavus was my choice for further education. Medicine was my personal choice, but nearing graduation, my mother did not approve. She said, “You will just go off and marry a doctor and we won’t see you much.” Being interviewed and accepted at the Mayo Clinic seemed okay at the time.

The Mayo Clinic was a fabulous place in which to work, highly talented staff and colleagues at every level in the business of healing the sick and finding new ways to do so. Fortunately for me I was hired to replace a Gustie graduate who worked in Biochemistry there. She was getting married to a pastor and they later served as missionaries in Malaysia along with my brother and his wife. I worked in the lab which had done the research for the successful discovery of Cortisone. We did some routine checks as well, but always had some research project on the tables. I did some work with reference to Aldosterone when Dr. Mason decided to do one more run of the tests. In a couple of days, Dr. Reichstein announced that he had discovered it. There was a social side of life also, the Mayo Clinic Women’s Club tried to keep us interested in books, plays and other activities. A monthly dinner with an invited guest was always a good chance to meet local folks. As Social Chairman for one of those programs I had invited the only Indian doctor in Rochester at the time to show a movie of life in Bombay, India. We seemed to think that was a good time to learn more about that country who had recently achieved independence. The move was very informative and inspiring as was the speaker, Dr. N.H. Keswani. That evening was the beginning of a long and traveled friendship.

Said Dr. Keswani had come to the United States for postgraduate work in the field of Anatomy, a medical school subject which he felt needed more powerful teaching by the faculty of the medical schools in India. He received an internship at Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia while he applied to other institutions for further study. He was accepted to join the Mayo Clinic as a Fellow in Anatomy and joined in 1953. He was the only such Fellow as that position had never been offered before; he also had been accepted without having a personal interview – most unusual! He was busy at work doing his research project night and day, it seemed. However, several prominent local residents wanted to know more about this young man and he was invited to many social functions. Frequently I was his friend for such occasions. Following completion of his research in Neuroanatomy he was awarded the PhD by the University of Minnesota in 1956. So it was time for him to return home and begin his life’s work. He had been interviewed in New York for the post of Head of the Anatomy Department at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, a new institution which was being built in New Delhi. The interviewing committee was composed of highly placed doctors in Medicine in US and Canada and officers of the Government of India. With some idea of how well he had done he boarded the ship for his return to India and his family there. He was appointed the Head of the Department of Anatomy and changed the way Anatomy was taught throughout India, Burma and other parts of the world.

My departure for India was delayed until Nand had his job, felt somewhat settled and when I could find a passage. The Suez Canal had fallen in those days and so I was able to finally find space on a Dutch cargo vessel, MS Bawean, sailing from Seattle to Calcutta (now it is Kolkata – former Indian name) in December, 1956. We were 12 passengers only on that vessel and got to know each other very well. The Waldocks, a missionary family with four children returning to their field in Assam; then there were Harry Gawthorpe, an Englishman returning home the long way, Mrs. Braskamp who was joining her husband working in East Pakistan building bridges, Mr. and Mrs. Silversides, from Canada, who were just taking a trip to India and would return on the same ship. Another woman who was traveling to join her daughter and son-in-law in Calcutta where they were working and then yours truly who hoped to be met in Calcutta by that wonderful fellow I had met in Rochester. It became a 44 day trip due to some bad weather, etc. but Wow, quite an experience. Our ports of call were Vancouver first – I became a little seasick, but that was the only time I felt it. Then off to the Philippines – Ilo-Ilo – Capt. Manscot had asked Harry to take me for a little stroll on shore – he wouldn’t let me go off alone for fear I would be kidnapped, Manila – Mr. Bradkamp had a friend there who took us to the American club for lunch, Cebu – where I could go off with others and even be alone, Hong Kong on December 31 – we were not allowed off the ship as we were noly off-loading some cars and would set sail late afternoon, (That was a blow to all of us so we had our own New Year’s Eve party (Quite a party it was), Singapore – where I was met by a Clinic colleague who had worked in an adjacent lab to mine and had returned home to continue his work, Chittagong, East Pakistan – Mrs. Braskamp was met by her husband while a few of us walked around the local market, and on to Calcutta January 22! Where a handsome young man with his arms full of roses waved to me from the dock. He boarded the ship itself at which time I feared his life – but he did it. After a couple of days with friends, we, along with Nand’s mother boarded a train for Old Delhi.

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