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Dance teacher Marianne Crowder dies at 104

Marianne Elser Crowder, who taught generations how to move their bodies artfully through dance, died June 4 at the age of 104.

She was an institution in Menlo Park, where she taught dance for decades through the recreation department. She began teaching dance and corrective exercise classes in 1949, and didn't retire from active teaching until the age of 95, according to her daughter, Sue Miller.

Ms. Crowder, who had pancreatic cancer, died in her Palo Alto home, surrounded by family and friends, Ms. Miller said.

"She just went out so gracefully. She died in her sleep, no pain," she said.

Ms. Crowder celebrated her 104th birthday on April 23 with a party at the Menlo Park Recreation Center -- an event attended by about 100 friends, family members, and former students.

A private family memorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts in her memory to: The UCSF Foundation -- Pancreas Cancer Program Fund, P.O. Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145-0339.

A full obituary will appear in next week's print edition of The Almanac.

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