Cover photo for Marijke Elizabet Holtrop's Obituary
Marijke Elizabet Holtrop Profile Photo
1932 Marijke 2024

Marijke Elizabet Holtrop

April 17, 1932 — June 8, 2024

Lincoln, Massachusetts

Marijke E. Holtrop (92) loved the outdoors, skiing, backpacking, kayaking, mountain climbing, skating, and above all, sailing. She was a nature photographer, a non-fiction/scientific writer, and a scientist in the field of medicine. She passed away at her home in Lincoln on June 8, 2024.

Marijke was born on April 17, 1932, in the Netherlands. She is the daughter of Marius Wilhelm Holtrop and Josien Holtrop-Juchter and the sister of Ernst Jan and Wouter Holtrop. In 1936, she and her family moved to California, where she attended kindergarten and two years of grade school. She loved her life there. They moved back to the Netherlands in 1939. The next spring, World War II broke out. This deeply affected Marijke. Deep down, she always wanted to go back to the US. And she did.

After Marijke got an M.D. and a Ph.D. at the State University of Leiden, the Netherlands, she moved to the United States for good.  She was a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital Medical Center (Harvard Medical School) for many years, using photography to study bone cells and producing numerous publications.

When Marijke encountered hardship and times of trouble, she would go sailing to reconnect with friends and nature.

"The wind touching my skin; the sun warming my body; the gentle rocking of the boat; the sounds of the waves splashing against the bow and lapping against the hull of the boat; the melodious washing of the water along the rocky shore; and the expanse of blue sky and drifting clouds reached my inner core and revived my spirit."

Marijke was also an intellectual interested in evolution, consciousness, ecology, biology, and environmental issues. Her spiritual interest was Taoism.

In retirement Marijke was thriving. She moved to Lincoln MA in 1998 where she created a living space to her needs: a "green" house in a quiet natural setting, with ample space for two housemates. Her world stretched out from the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge to the ocean, sailing on her 23 foot boat Wu-Wei, sleeping on board, taking friends out.

She became a successful nature photographer. Nature and people, people and nature. She was healthy and strong, cognition and memory as clear as ever. Marijke gained a sense of belonging by connecting with a variety of people interested in environmental issues. “Much to contribute and much to learn,” she would say. She had found total peace within and was excited about how her life was evolving connecting with nature, family and friends.

Unfortunately, Marijke contracted Lyme disease, which was first misdiagnosed. It seriously affected her health. Later, a tumor in her abdomen caused further trouble. She died in her home with friends and family close by.

Marijke was a truly remarkable woman. She will be missed.

In August 1989, many decades before her passing, Marijke wrote:

“I feel that my life is a small part of a large process. My life is flowing like a river in a diverse landscape of valleys and mountains, fields, and forests. The river flows on and on, always moving, never still – sometimes fast and turbulent, sometimes slow and peaceful. The river feeds water to the land it runs through, water as an essential energy in life. The river also receives water from its tributaries and thus is being fed. In this way, there is a continuous flow and exchange of energy. The river becomes wider and wider and has more and more water to contribute to the land.

Where is the river going? Eventually, the river will flow into the ocean, a homecoming, and will merge with the “ten thousand things”, the everything, and become nothing and everything at the same time.

When will that happen? The day I die.”

On June 12, 2024, a private commemoration with family and friends was held.

Donations may be made in Marijke's memory to
Friends of Woodlands and Waters
P.O. Box 27
Hudson, MA 01749
Please indicate that donations are intended for the Assabet River NWR.


Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap St., Concord MA. 01742 978-369-3388


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