1995 BHS Alumna of the Year

Marilyn Inez Dickman Short, 1938 - 1998

In Memoriam

In San Mateo, November 7, 1998; Loving wife of the late M. Lawrence Short; Also survived by a multitude of loyal friends who will miss her dearly. Aged 60 years. Native of San Francisco. Marilyn was raised in Burlingame and attended Burlingame elementary schools and was a graduate of Burlingame High School. Member of the Burlingame Historical Society and was Archives chair since 1987; Co-chairman of the Burlingame Train Station Centennial. Co-citizen of the year of the city of Burlingame in 1995; Burlingame High School Alumnus of the year 1996. At her request, no services will be held. Arrangements under the direction of Crosby-N. Gray & Co., Burlingame. Memorials to the Burlingame Historical Society, P.O. Box 144, Burlingame, CA 94010.

(The following Autobiographical Sketch was written by Marilyn for inclusion in the Panther Tracks 1995 'Book of Memories' created for our 40th reunion in 1995.)

Forty years? Doesn't seem possible. The only times I think about so many years passing is when I take local history "show & tell" to our 3rd & 5th graders. All we knew in the' '40s & '50s is met with "oh wow" & "cool". The things of our youth seem as foreign to today's kids as the Civil War would have been to us. Ouch!

By August '55 I was eager to leave this small town. I made it all the way to U.C. Berkeley. Two years there and three at U.C.S.F. Medical Center proved much more difficult and exciting than I could have guessed. During college I worked part time at special sales tables at Macy's S.F. and I've hated department stores ever since. With a BSN in hand I started my nursing career at Peninsula Hospital. The early years had all the high drama of hospital heroism and wackiness of living with four roommates. I earned a Public Health Credential and used it with the U.S.P.H. Service in a mobile clinic for the Navajo people in Utah and Arizona. They didn't want any part of us, and I learned a real lesson about "do gooders" ? sometimes, don't. This was in '66 and by then I was working at the San Mateo Medical Clinic and living in my own apartment in a great singles building. The carefree years!

Fortunately, after my Navajo sabbatical, romantic chaos struck during preparations for a trip to the altar ending an affair to not remember. Soon after, I met Lawrence at a concert, and the music was good! He spent the next year as conductor of the Anchorage Symphony, and I became Director of Nursing at the Clinic. We started on a wonderful adventure when he returned. Another lesson ? teachers and classical musicians really know how to PARTY! We spent twenty Julys at the Carmel Bach Festival where he played violin in the orchestra and I did a little of everything ancillary. The music was always glorious and the high jinks, hilarious. Very happy years!

In 1969 he transferred to Hillsdale High and created another excellent chorus & orchestra. After seven years of musical revelry and demanding but satisfying careers, we married and settled into our cozy Burlingame Avenue bungalow. Lawrence retired in '76 and I took an indefinite leave to oversee my then paralyzed dad's medical care. I am still "on leave" eleven years after Dad passed away, and we're into the "quiet" years now. For many years we practically commuted between Mendocino where friends were developing an inn and Santa Barbara where friends were still teaching music. Other travel usually shunned city sights for nature sites. Three of our most memorable adventures were a sunrise train trip in the Yukon, ballooning over Yountville and a helicopter tour over the Bay Area with an a.m. radio traffic reporter.

I've been frustrated and satisfied by volunteering with Head Start, programs for health care reform and Democratic politics. Lawrence prefers working in his super star garden. In the mid '80s I got interested in the Burlingame Historical Society, and what started as a simple hobby has become what could be a full time vocation. I am Archives Chairman and love it. This led to joining classmate Bill Key in a 15 month odyssey that ended with a terrific centennial celebration for our train station last year and Citizen of the Year awards to both of us. Bill and I served together on the BHS Alumni Assn. Board. Sadly, we lost Bill to a sudden illness last November. We miss him deeply.

Lawrence had all the children he wanted in 30 years teaching, and I enjoyed my career until I thought it was too late for a family. We adopted an adorable Bichon instead. She's a joy, and we haven't worried one minute about the cost of college.

Life has brought some major traumas and lots of minor tribulations, but all the good things come to mind more easily. We wish everyone the same.

(Ed. Lawrence was Lawrence Short, BHS music and orchestra director in 1955. He passed away in 1997)

(From the University of Pacific REVIEW, Spring 1999)


An experience at University of the Pacific more than 50 years ago moved alumnus Lawrence Short, COP '38, and his wife, Marilyn (Dickman) Short, to leave a half-million dollar fund for Conservatory Students studying string instruments.

Short taught orchestra at Burlingame High School in the Bay Area until his retirement. He died in 1997 and his wife died last fall.

His family was hard-hit by the depression, Conservatory Dean Carl Nosse said. "Often his lunch was fruit he picked from the trees on campus.We are abundantly grateful for the generous gifts of this wonderful couple," Nosse said. "This scholarship will help the Conservatory to develop the string sections of our symphony orchestra, and provide necessary financial support for talented, needy string students," he said.


40th Reunion (1995)
Visit to the Burlingame Historical Society Archives
Located in the Gunst Mansion Carriage House in Washington Park
Marilyn Dickman Short was the principal archivist at that time.

Jayne Wright Lasley, Carol Alexander, Marilyn Dickman Short, Maren Browning,
Dee Williams Ropers (seated), Mike Langston, Jain Fairfax Langston, Elaine Bjorgan.

Marilyn (Dickman) Short Memorial Bench

(Reported in the Summer 2009 issue of the Burlingame Historical Society Newsletter The Record )

"The Marilyn Short Memorial Bench has been installed in the Fragrance Garden of Washington Park...The bench was funded by over 30 individual donations given to the Society after she passed away."

Thanks to Society President Russ Cohen for providing the picture and permission to use.