We mourn the loss of Marlene Cutitar.
As a magazine editor, I rely on a vast network of colleagues, alumni, faculty, and friends to send me news tips and story ideas. For more than a decade, I counted on Marlene Cutitar ’83 MD’86 RES’92 to be a top source. She’d email me news of mini-alumni reunions at weddings and birthday parties; updates on her classmates, and then later, their children, as they got old enough to come to Brown; and very often, obituaries, as faculty aged and classmates died far too young.
So I was shocked in May of this year when a colleague emailed to let me know of Marlene’s passing. I stared at my phone in disbelief, trying to think back to the last time I’d spoken to her. It had been some time, which I’d attributed to COVID, but I did find it odd that she wasn’t at the kick-off event for 50 Years of Medicine at Brown in April. Marlene and her husband, I’d later learn, were on a whirlwind tour of Europe at the time. I’d also learn that she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2020.
If Juli Ip is everyone’s mom on campus, Marlene was everyone’s big sister. I first met her when she was president of the Brown Medical Alumni Association in the mid-2000s. With her signature long hair and running shoes, Marlene was an exuberant supporter of Brown, of women in medicine, really of anyone lucky enough to be in her orbit. Like a doting aunt, she delighted in seeing fellow alumni’s children enter and graduate from the Medical School. She came to many alumni events, and always acknowledged the hard work done by staff behind the scenes.
Marlene gave praise freely and frequently. When we relaunched this magazine in 2019, she wrote to me: “I love Medicine @ Brown !!! I have already sent copies of various articles to family & friends! Kudos!” [Exclamation points are all hers.] I’ll be honest, I was proud that I had earned her praise. Even when Marlene passed along an obituary of a faculty member, she’d add a few words about the impact they had on education or the mentoring and support they had shown her during training. She was determined to make their legacy known.
Let’s do the same for her. “Dr. Marlene Cutitar was a friend to all; a cheerleader for Brown; a devoted healer to her patients; and she will be sadly missed by our community.”
—Kris Cambra, Editor