SARASOTA - Sunday, July 7, Parkinson Place Program Director Marilyn Tait died at the age of 74. Her purpose in life was to help those with Parkinson's fight the disease and have hope and a sense of self-worth. Tait worked in neuroscience for decades.

"I'd lean toward Parkinson's disease, very much so, because they are very special people. The disease randomly picks the best of the best," Tait said in a June interview with SNN.

If you ask anyone at Parkinson Place, Tait was the best of the best.

‘Every time you hear her talk, you learn something new every time," Parkinson's Caregiver Terry Pishko said.

Parkinson Place Founder Larry Hoffheimer calls Tait a 'one-of-a-kind type person.'

"She’s been a motivational speaker since she was a kid," Hoffheimer said.

That's just one of the reasons he hand picked Tait to run Parkinson Place.

“She gave them a sense of inspiration and hope; she made them feel because they had Parkinson's disease that they were not a lesser person," Hoffheimer said. "Because of that, their whole outlook on life improved tremendously.”

Hoffheimer was fortunate enough to know Tait for twenty years and says she was the yin to his yang.

“She was such an upbeat, positive person," Hoffheimer said. "I’m much more of a realist, so as a result, I kinda jab her a little bit with my realism, and she kinda pokes at me for not being more positive.”

Hoffheimer says now the biggest challenge, aside from missing Tait, is convincing the Parkinson Place community to stay strong and keep coming to classes, just like she would have wanted.

Tait died after a brief battle with an illness. Parkinson Place is open and running as usual.