Joan Mraz “was the ultimate volunteer,” recalls Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which he says she co-founded as “the catalyst who crucially transformed founder Elliott Couden’s dream into a reality when we got our start 30 years ago, based at South Seattle Community College (13 years before we opened the Log House Museum).” Ms. Mraz died this week at 78, and a memorial gathering is planned March 9th. Here’s a remembrance shared by her family:
Joan Bailey Mraz, beloved mother, grandmother, sister and lifelong West Seattle resident, passed away peacefully on Feb. 24, 2014, at Providence Mount St. Vincent. She was the firstborn twin of Ruth and Glen Bailey on July 29, 1935.
She was senior-class president and graduated in the class of 1953 from West Seattle High School. Joan won an art scholarship to Seattle University, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts. She went on to teach art and art history at South Seattle Community College and was co-founder and former president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
Joan was a fighter. She received a kidney transplant in 1989, which lasted the rest of her life.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband Elemer Mraz in 1996 and son Steven Roger Mraz in 2008. She is survived by her twin sister Diane Tice of Seattle, daughter Kristina (Graham) van Etten of Sydney, Australia, son Oscar (Nicole Devine) Mraz of Seattle and Mark (Bridget) Mraz of Edmonds. Joan was a proud grandmother to Lauren, Jordan and Nathan van Etten of Sydney, Australia, Marguerite Devine-Mraz of Seattle and Lukas and Kellen Mraz of Edmonds. She will always be remembered for her smile, caring attitude, love and deep affection for others.
The family asks that remembrances may be made to Northwest Kidney Centers (PO Box 3035, Seattle, WA 98114) or Southwest Seattle Historical Society (Log House Museum, 3003 61st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116).
A celebration of Joan’s life will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, at St Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church, 11620 21st Ave S.W., Seattle, WA, 98146. Please sign Joan’s online guestbook at www.becksfuneralhome.com.
The SWSHS website will have an extended obituary of Ms. Mraz sometime this weekend, and we’ll link to it here when it’s available. Meantime, anyone wishing to honor her through volunteer work with the SWSHS has an opportunity to do so almost immediately – the next volunteer-orientation session is 11 am-1 pm tomorrow (Saturday) at the LHM (61st/Stevens).
ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: The aforementioned SWSHS appreciation of Ms. Mraz is now published – see it here.