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Posted August 25, 2003 

The passing of the Gentle Wolf:
Mare Dubovich
January 20, 1954 – July 15, 2003

On August 14th, family, friends and members of the CEDU community gathered at Rocky Mountain Academy’s pond to celebrate the life and comfort each other over the loss of their beloved friend and mentor, Mare (Mary Ellen) Dubovich.

They reminisced about this pioneer in the field of wilderness education and emotional growth, describing her huge impact on their lives and the lives of many adolescents. Sitting in a large semi-circle facing Mare’s pictures and inspirational writings, they shared laughter, tears, and anecdotes about Mare’s incisive ability to influence both counselors and students alike. They spoke of her gentle, compassionate and relentless insight that enabled her to lovingly and powerfully engage each person in conversations that immediately surpassed the superficial, delving to the essence of the issue at hand.

Then, on August 16, friends and relatives from around the country gathered at the Twin Rivers Campground at the confluence of the Kootenai and Moyie Rivers, to bid Mare farewell, sending her their thoughts and prayers symbolized by the rose petals they scattered on the river’s shore. The trail of rose petals spread out across the river as did her influence, to all she encountered.

Mare worked with CEDU for 22 years, beginning on Jan 19, 1981. The following year she and her husband, Dan Krmpotich, moved to North Idaho from Running Springs, California as part of the “magnificent seven” who created the vision of “See and Do” at the new school, The Rocky Mountain Academy. She helped develop their wilderness and emotional growth program, preferring to stay close to the kids and the woods rather than administration. Earlier this year the wilderness office building she inhabited for all those years was named “Mare’s Lodge”.

Mare was also a co-founder and director of Kidsview, later known as Woodhaven, a small experientially-based private preschool, elementary and middle school. After ten years, economic hardship forced its closure and Mare became an active volunteer at the public schools where her children, Luka, Anya and Micah transferred.

A longtime friend who spoke at the CEDU gathering, still stunned that Mare’s tremendous tenacity and strength finally met its match by the ravages of cancer, remarked that it only made sense that Mare would go first -- to do re-con for the rest of us! Meanwhile we all can continue to gain inspiration from Mare’s powerful example of loving service to others, a love of life and deep joy in the beauty of the wilderness.

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