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Mesothelioma Widow Takes after Late Husband in Rowing

Marjorie Burgard of Duxbury, Massachusetts is 81 years old; she is also a world rowing champion, having won 12 gold medals in five major races. She was also the oldest American woman and the only woman to be inducted into the Ancient Order of the Oars in 2010.

Her second marriage was to naval architect Arthur Martin in 1966, who created the Alden Ocean Shell and started the new sport of recreational rowing. The two of them rowed together and established Martin Marine Co. in Kittery, Maine. The two had been married for 25 years when Martin died of mesothelioma in 1990 at the age of 74. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that is notoriously resistant to treatment. He was inducted posthumously into the National Rowing Hall of Fame as the father of recreational rowing.

After his death, Marjorie took lessons in racing sculls, later marrying sculler Ralph Burgard in 1998. It was in 2010, at the age of 80, that she totaled nine gold medals from the World Masters Regatta.

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