In Memoriam: M.J. Hardman, 1935-2023

by Shumaya Bautista Hardman and Harrissa Coffee

Dr. Martha James Hardman, 87, known to her many friends as M.J., died peacefully on Monday, Jan. 30, at her home in Gainesville, Florida, after a long illness, with her family in attendance. She is predeceased by her husband, Dr. Dimas Bautista-Iturrizaga, and one son, Elston Dimas Paqawshu Guy Bautista-Hardman. She is survived by one daughter, Shumaya Martha Bautista-Hardman, and one son, Arthur H. Bautista-Hardman, four grandchildren, and two great-grandsons, many beloved nieces and nephews in different countries, and countless friends, colleagues, students, and readers, whom she has mentored and befriended over the years. 

M.J. was born Oct. 8, 1935, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She obtained her B.A. from the University of Utah in 1956, with a second B.A. obtained from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru, in 1959. She obtained her M.A. at the University of New Mexico, in 1957, and her PhD from Stanford University in 1962. 

Her field work in Peru, recognized by Fullbright scholarship and lecture grants, resulted in the first written grammar for the Jaqi language group spoken in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, which includes Jaqaru, Aymara, and Kawki. Her grammar was recognized as an official alphabet by the nations of Peru and Bolivia. It is used in their schools for bilingual education and in public media publications. 

At the time of her field work, she met, collaborated with, and married a Jaqi native speaker, veterinarian microbiologist, Tupino mayor, historian, and musician, Dr. Dimas Bautista-iturrizaga. 

M.J.’s long career encompassed Latin American studies, linguistics, and anthropology at colleges and universities, and in communities in the United States, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. She retired Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Latin American Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Florida in 2010 (we think, it was hard to tell), but remained active in academic and other pursuits, giving lectures and interviews and writing. 

She published 24 books and 58 articles and was involved in 85 international lectures, workshops, and seminars. She has been recognized for her work in language and violence in women’s studies, and was also interested and involved in science fiction and its influence on culture. Her talent as a pianist helped support her in her youth, and gave her and her family and friends joy for many years. Her fabric art, done by crochet, was famous, and lucky family and friends have everything from Christmas ornaments to wall hangings and bedspreads. 

Until recent years, she participated, via cyberspace, in weekly gatherings of friends of long standing, united by the love of science fiction, science, art, good food and drink, and each other. We will miss her deep and generous intellect and her loving friendship and encouragement. 

She chose not to have a public funeral or memorial service.

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