Multi-talented Marina Brown has had various careers and a fascinating life of travel and adventure. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the only child of a plumber and a homemaker. Her dad gave her the name Marina after the U.S. Marine Corps. As a child, she enjoyed putting on performances with the neighborhood children. Her dream to be a ballet dancer was inspired when she first saw a pair of pointe shoes and she started dance lessons at the age of eight.
Her talent was further nurtured by taking ballet classes from dance professionals at Butler University. At the age of 15, Marina was invited to join the famous Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and danced with them for five years before joining the American Festival Ballet. Her successful ballet career was cut short at the age of 21 when she broke her Achilles tendon while rehearsing for a tour.
Undeterred by the tragic injury, Marina got her GED and received a scholarship to study nursing. She had a rewarding career as a psychiatric, operating room, and a hospice nurse. Marina married a professor, moved to Florida, and adopted three children. They spent summers in France and learned to speak French fluently. As an adult, she took up the cello and eventually became 4th chair cello in the Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra.
After her first marriage ended, she married an Admiral in the Navy and learned to sail. They spent 14 years sailing to places like South America, and even living on a sailboat for three years. While sailing, she began to write articles for the St. Petersburg Times and other publications. Following the death of her husband, she continued to sail with friends in different parts of the world.
Being a senior has not slowed Marina down at all. Her key to active, positive aging is “to try new things, ignore aches and pains, act the age you feel inside.” After relocating to Tallahassee, she discovered a community of dancers and joined a Flamenco Dance group and an Argentine Dance group.
She found love again and married her husband, Doug Kiliman. She continued her writing career with the Tallahassee Democrat and Tallahassee Magazine. She earned a Master’s degree in Nursing Education. She learned to speak Italian, joined the Tallahassee Writers Association, and is now the author of three medal-winning novels, a book of short stories, and a book of poetry.
Marina is also a gifted artist who paints in watercolors and pastels. She has had exhibitions at the Gadsden Arts Center, the Meek-Eaton Black Archives, and LeMoyne. She has taught Art and Lifelong Learning for the Tallahassee Senior Center and a writing class for OLLI.
Her free time is spent going to the gym and playing ping pong at the TSC. Marina enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. Marina’s advice to others is to “try new things, when a door shuts, go in a new direction, and embrace it. If you are bored or depressed, do one creative thing each day.”
By Maureen Haberfeld