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470 Massachusetts Avenue
PO Box 882
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: 978-263-5333
Fax: 978-263-8193
Marianne  Wessling-Resnick

Marianne Wessling-Resnick

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
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Marianne Wessling-Resnick (Wessling), 61, a longtime resident of Boxborough, MA, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family and closest friends on Tuesday November 12, 2019 after a long and very courageous battle with cancer.

She is survived by her loving husband of 35 years, Paul Resnick and her son Timothy Wessling-Resnick, both of Boxborough, her father Francis W. Wessling of Andover, MA, sister Patricia Dane and her husband Stephen Dane of Reading, MA, sister Laura Erazo and her husband Dimas Erazo of North Andover, MA, brother David Wessling and his wife Kristin Wessling of South Berwick, ME, sister Virginia Wessling, and closest friends Kathleen and Michael Murphy of Westford, MA. Her loving mother Mary (Johnson) Wessling predeceased her. She is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Marianne was born in Winthrop, MA and grew up in the North Shore towns of Wakefield, Saugus, and Melrose, MA, and was a 1976 graduate of Saugus High School.

Marianne received a BS in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1980, an MS in biophysics and theoretical biology from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1988. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School before joining the Harvard Chan School (formerly Harvard School of Public Health) in 1990 as Assistant Professor of Nutrition. She was promoted to Associate Professor of Nutrition in 1995 and to Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2000, when she became the Department of Nutrition’s first tenured woman faculty member. In 2003, she became a foundational tenured faculty member in the newly formed Department of Molecular Metabolism, which focuses on metabolic regulation and stress response. Marianne had been a member of the PhD Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health since 1994, serving as its director from 2010 to 2014. She was also previously the director of the Division of Biological Sciences and a member of the Program in Quantitative Genomics.

Marianne was a very valuable member and colleague of the Harvard faculty during her esteemed academic career. She was especially well-known as a dedicated and caring mentor to the faculty, staff, and students with whom she worked and was awarded the School’s Junior Faculty Mentoring Award in 2013 and the Committee for the Advancement of Women Faculty (CAWF) Mentoring Award earlier this year. In presenting her with this award, CAWF wrote, “Dr. Wessling-Resnick has had a major positive impact on the careers of many faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and students. She is a generous coach to those under her mentorship who have difficult decisions to make, and she is especially appreciated for the understanding and respect she shows for colleagues and mentees balancing their roles as caregivers and professionals.” Marianne was a “pillar of the community” at the Harvard Chan School for many years.

Marianne was a loving, dedicated, and selfless wife and mother. Marianne loved outdoor activities including hiking, camping, fishing, bicycling, and canoeing. She, with her husband loved to travel and ‘rough it," camping out in several of the large National Parks in the west and California, and stopping to visit her late grandmother Celia Dearborn and late uncle Roy Johnson, at their homes in beautiful Salida, CO. She loved the White Mountains of New Hampshire where as a child she visited her grandparent’s small family owned ski area in Jackson, NH many times. She and her husband climbed Mt. Washington on their honeymoon, and with her husband, and son would spend many happy summer vacations in the White Mountains and on Cape Cod.

No immediate services will be held, details on a memorial event to honor Marianne will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society. To share a memory or offer a condolence, visit:
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Private Condolence

David Spiro, Jianming Yu, Julie Yan Pan

Posted at 02:22pm
Dear Paul and Timothy, please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss... Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Flower Image

David Spiro, Jianming Yu, Julie Yan Pan purchased flowers for the family of Marianne Wessling-Resnick.


Vernon Nixon

Posted at 07:20am
Paul and Timothy - I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I enjoyed getting to know Marianne back in Timothy’s scouting days and she was always so supportive and engaging in whatever activities were going on in such a positive manner. Most of all - she was always so supportive of what Timothy wanted to do and be involved in his activities. My thoughts and prayers are with you two at this time.

Vernon Nixon

Dorathy vargas

Posted at 02:16pm
Dr.Marianne Wessling-Resnick was my PI from 2009-2012. She gave the opportunity to work, grow, thrive and flourish in her lab. A lab that was also a place that felt more like a family than a job for me personally. She always gave me works of encouragement. She taught me that research was always a project in process. She gave me courage when I had doubt. She gave me strength when I felt weak. She gave me a view of myself that made me value my abilities when I most needed it.
To the very last day Dr. MWR gave me her help. She wrote a wonderful reference for me less than 6 wks ago, she had no need to do this but she was DR.MWR , a person who made my experience at GCD the gold standard by which I judge every lab I join.
She always found ways to make her lab members feel part of a family. She found ways for the lab members to connect, no matter their languages, country of origin, age or background they came from. Dr.MWR always found ways to connect lab members.
I can not put into words the empty hole that her passing has left in my heart. She was on of a kind. And I will cherish her words, her uniqueness and her smile til the day I see her once more in that marvelous lab in heaven.
Some might have known she had an orange Maine coon, Val. I know in my heart that Val is sitting comfortably next to her now.
I will miss you Dr.MWR

Jemila Kester

Posted at 08:28am
Marianne stood up for me when I was a PhD student at Harvard. She gave me some of the best career advice I've ever received. And she was a supportive and nurturing advisor to all of us. She went out of her way, above and beyond, for each of us. I am devastated by this news. I wanted to write so her family knows all those hours she spent at HSPH touched so many lives in infinite ways. My daughters played with Timothy's outgrown Thomas the Tank toys, so even they benefited from her exuberance. Marianne, thank you for being so kind to me when things got hard. I will miss you.
Jemila Kester
BPH 2011 incoming class

Kathleen Murphy

Posted at 10:44am
Marianne was my very best friend for almost 50 years. We met in Junior High when she invited me into her small circle of friends and we’ve remained close ever since that time. One time, when my parents were away and I didn’t have my license yet, she drove my Grandmother to church. This small, simple act of kindness was an early example to me of what a truly wonderful person Marianne was and it was followed by countless others in the years since.

Over the years, as life unfolded and we were busy with education, careers, marriages and births of our children, Marianne was there for me whenever I needed her. She was the kindest, most selfless person I ever knew.

Marianne and Paul (and later, Timothy, after he blessed their lives) and my family participated in nearly all important life events together in the intervening years. My husband, Mike, and our children, Julie and Dan, have so many fond memories of Christmases, birthday parties, graduation celebrations and “just because it’s time to get together” gatherings we had together. They are as much a part of our family as our own blood relatives.

I am going to miss my dearest friend, who was taken from us way too early. However, the legacy of kindness and selflessness Marianne has left us will live on in my heart forever.

Rest easy, my Marianne… I love you dearly.
Kathy Murphy

Amy Lima Posted at 08:23pm

I worked in Marianne’s lab after I graduated from college and before beginning grad school. This was a time in my life when I started dating my future husband, my dearest grandfather passed away, and I choose my future career. I remember Marianne being there for me and giving me advice. I sat in her office and discussed these changes in my life and she always seemed so wise to me. I was there when she announced her pregnancy to us and we were having a lab meeting when we all learned about 9/11. She will be connected to many important memories of my life. I am so sad for her family and community that she passed from this world so soon. Her spirit will be remembered and missed.

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