(Photo courtesy ArtsWest, whose Kongsgaard-Alhadeff Award honored Ms. Ceis in 2005)
Friends, family, and political/civic leaders around the area are remembering longtime West Seattle activist Margaret Ceis today. She passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Her community service included being a founding member of the ArtsWest board, serving on the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners – for which she was honored in this 1996 City Council resolution – the Alki Community Council, the Harborview Medical Center Board of Trustees, and more.
Her leadership skills and perseverance were legend; when former mayor and current Secretary of State candidate Greg Nickels spoke at the memorial last year for another longtime community activist, Vivian McLean (WSB coverage here), he mentioned Ms. Ceis as, along with Ms. McLean, one of the local activists “you never say ‘no’ to.” Ms. Ceis was the mother of former deputy mayor Tim Ceis. We asked King County Executive Dow Constantine, one of many local leaders that she inspired, for his thoughts:
Our community lost a genuine champion with the passing of Margaret Ceis.
A lifelong community organizer and political activist, Margaret led the 34th District Democrats, the Alki Community Council and the League of Women Voters, among many other groups. She helped to create and promote the landmark 1989 King County Open Space bond issue, chaired the Seattle Parks Board, co-founded ArtsWest, and co-chaired the Three Projects/One Community campaign in Delridge.
It was Margaret who introduced me to grassroots Democratic politics. Her endorsement was without question the most coveted in West Seattle. In 1996 she was the co-chair of my successful campaign for the State House of Representatives. Without the coaxing and mentorship of Margaret Ceis I might never have sought or been elected to public office, and I will be forever grateful to her.
My condolences to Margaret’s family and friends, and to the entire West Seattle community, which she changed time and again for the better.
No word of memorial arrangements for Ms. Ceis yet, but they are expected to be made through Howden-Kennedy. We expect to add more to this story as the day goes on.