Katrin (Kati) Marley admits that she is a born and bred Estophile - and she fully intends to stay that way. This means, that for her and her family, the transition to and support of the new International Estonian Centre (IEC) makes perfect sense.
“I am a very pragmatic person,” Kati explains. “I look at all the facts and numbers, and if it makes sense, I get behind it. I know that my family and I will use this new centre, and it is my responsibility to help support it to the best of my ability.”
Kati says that her three children had the same strong cultural upbringing as she did
growing up in the active Estonian community in Toronto. Kati’s daughter Taimi Hooper and husband Sean live in Cambridge. Their daughter Maali, 4, is already following family tradition and is enthusiastically participating in the Estonian kindergarten. Her son Paul and partner Kairi-Ly Tammeoks live in Tallinn, Estonia and son Allan is in Toronto.
Kati had a 40-year career as a clinical pharmacist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, specializing in palliative care and geriatrics. This included providing support to Casey House for 13 years, a hospice for AIDS patients, during the difficult and challenging time of the disease’s epidemic.
She loved her career, but reports she is busier in retirement than she has ever been.
Kati says, “The lectures and events at Tartu College are just fabulous. Anything that VEMU does, I am there.” In addition to the joy of looking after Maali, interests include travel, theatre, music and continuing education in many fields.
Kati and her family have always been extremely active in the community.
She is a long-time member of the Ööbik choir and participated for many years in guides and folk dancing both as a member and in leadership roles. She also served on the Estonian House board for eight years as secretary.
Her parents Bruno and Elsa Lindre were in leadership positions for organizations such as Estonian guides and scouts, camp Kotkajärve and Vana Andres church.
It was natural for Kati to follow in their footsteps.
She was also an instructor in the folk dancing troupe and passed the baton for this passion to her daughter Taimi, who now is one of the driving forces behind the popular dance group known as Kungla. “It must be in the genes” says Kati.
Taimi’s cousins Karin and Elin are also folkdance instructors in Kungla’s children’s group and the Toronto Estonian School.
“We were thrilled because Kungla was again accepted into ‘Tantsupidu’ (the dance festival) in Estonia this year,” she said. “That was a real honour.”
Kati is very pleased that four major Estonian organizations based in Toronto have come together to support and guide the project: Tartu College, the Estonian Credit Union, the Estonian House and the Estonian Foundation of Canada.
“The issue of a sustainable future home for the Estonian community was in limbo for so long,” Kati remarked. “I am extremely grateful that now there is a group of talented individuals who are taking on this work. The depth and breadth of the expertise on the team is incredible.”
Kati believes that the new IEC will build on the strength instilled by the previous
“There is still very much a beating heart in the Estonian community so we need a place to come together and ensure it stays healthy and strong in a sustainable, vibrant new home.”
Get involved and help support our future
The International Estonian Centre’s capital campaign donor categories are Kalevipoja Laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Viru Vanemad for gifts over $10,000, and Kungla Rahvas for gifts up to $10,000. The Kungla Rahvas campaign will launch in early 2020.
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DIGITAL Estonian Life No. 25 - June 24, 2022