Celebration of life planned February 4 for Lane Townsend, 1927-2023

Family and friends will gather February 4 to celebrate the life of Lane Townsend. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

Margaret Elaine “Lane” (Wise) Townsend

Lane Townsend, 96, passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 13, 2023. She was born in Seattle, Washington on October 27, 1927 to Robert Wise and Beatrice (Bryan) Wise. She was preceded in death by her husband Ivan Townsend and brothers Ken and Gordon “Oly” Wise. She is survived by her children Steve (Kay), Dave (Jan), Carl (Jennine), and Keith (Yvonne) Townsend, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. As matriarch of the family, she was a generous and beloved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and good friend to all who knew her.

Lane grew up in West Seattle at 1301 Harbor Avenue. As a young girl she rode the street car to Alki Elementary School and later took dance lessons in the ballroom of the Stockade Hotel. After graduating from West Seattle High School (class of ’45) and attending Whitman College in Walla Walla, she graduated with degrees in Political Science and Music from the University of Washington, where she met and fell in love with Ivan. They were married in 1950.

A loving wife and a very involved mother, Lane was always engaged in activities with Ivan and her four boys. Whether she was serving as a Den Mother for Cub Scouts, presiding over the Lafayette Elementary School PTA, or organizing parent groups for James Madison Jr. High and West Seattle High School band and orchestra students, she generously gave the gift of time to her West Seattle community.

Lane inherited her love of music from her father, and it followed her to the end of her life. A benefactor and season ticket holder for Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Opera for many years, she loved performances of Puccini’s Tosca, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Verdi’s Aida. In her final days she would listen to classical music and gracefully conduct with her fingers in the air, which brought her peace and tranquility.

She had a fierce love for family and was brokenhearted when her father died. Through the years she remained very close to her mother, spending every Friday with her. Giving the gift of time, they would go grocery shopping, run errands, go somewhere fun… and she always had Gramma at our home for Friday night dinner.

After her father’s passing, Lane inherited his forest land, where she and Ivan learned how to be tree farmers. They built a cabin in the woods and acquired her father’s love of trees. Successful at forest management, they were recognized as Washington State’s Tree Farmers of the Year in 1977. Together, they shared their experience and knowledge of forestry with other members of the Washington Farm Forestry Association. The Tree Farm was one of Mom’s happy places and the forest and cabin have been the location of our annual family reunion (and Uncle Kenny’s salmon bake) for more than 55 years.

Playing competitive tennis, bowling with West Seattle bowling leagues, and water aerobics at the YMCA kept Lane physically active all of her life. Reading the local newspaper daily held her finger on the pulse of local and national information and politics. Combining fitness with her mental acumen and zeal for life surely contributed to her longevity. She loved to travel and loved sharing her travel experiences with others. Some of her adventures took her to Mexico, Europe, Australia, China, Russia, and Egypt. Hiking to the tops of pyramids, walking the Great Wall of China, and riding camels were all parts of her adventures!

A few years after Ivan’s passing, Lane sold her home of 44 years and bought a condominium across the street from Don Armeni Park. Located at 1301 Harbor Avenue, it was the exact same address as where she grew up, but on the 4th floor of a beautiful building with a sweeping view of the Space Needle and downtown Seattle. And there was always a ferry boat sailing through Elliott Bay! Watching people walk, jog, ride bicycles, and roller skate along the waterfront was a favorite pastime. Always the adventurer, sometimes she would walk down the street to the biker bar for a cold beer.

Convalescing after a broken hip in 2015 prompted a move to an adult care home, where she enjoyed culture in Bellevue for the past 8 years. Lane and her brother, Oly, her partner and coach in her hip rehabilitation, would take invigorating walks together, often climbing several flights of stairs. Just as she did with her mother, it was Lane’s children and grandchildren who continued sharing their gifts of time. Attending local theatre productions, concerts, street fairs, and summer picnics in the park were all cherished outings. And of course dining at her favorite Mexican restaurant, El Tapatio!

In her twilight days, Lane was at peace with herself. She had seen everything she wanted to see, done everything she wanted to do, and traveled everywhere she wanted to go. Satisfied that everything in her life was good, she would say, “I’ve have had a good life. But, for cryin’ out loud, I’m 96 years old. The party is over and it’s time to go home.”

A Celebration of Life will be held at noon, February 4, 2024 in Bellevue, Washington. Contact Columbia Funeral Home at 206-722-1100 or a family member for details.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, Seattle Symphony, or Washington Tree Farm Program.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to westseattleblog@gmail.com)

8 Replies to "Celebration of life planned February 4 for Lane Townsend, 1927-2023"

  • Cid December 17, 2023 (11:35 am)

    Lane sounds delightful! A life well lived. 

  • Alki resident December 17, 2023 (11:44 am)

    What an incredible tribute. You made me feel like I knew her. I’m sorry for your loss. There’s going to be a huge void at Christmas for sure.

  • Steph December 17, 2023 (1:03 pm)

    What a wonderful life! Thank you for sharing and reminding us all that time and caring are the important things.

  • CarDriver December 17, 2023 (1:57 pm)

    WSB. Others. This is a good time to plead with a) WSB and b) others who have longtime WS family members to get their stories recorded. Lane would have been a treasure trove of old time WS stories that we’d all love to hear and see and have recorded for future generations so they (and we) learn and remember what life was like and the pioneers that came and went before us.

  • Gina December 17, 2023 (2:07 pm)

    She was one of the only advocates Madison and West Seattle high music had during the budget slashed seventies! 

    • Fiona December 18, 2023 (12:14 pm)

      I feel a kinship for the PTA moms and #bandmoms that went before me! I might even have been in the pool with Lane during water aerobics.  Thank you for sharing her story, what a great life and legacy!

  • WSSpartan December 17, 2023 (4:53 pm)

    What an inspiring life. Truly beautiful obit. Condolences to the family.

  • WestSeattleBadTakes December 17, 2023 (11:07 pm)

    Thanks for the lovely reminder that Seattle had extensive street car lines.

    I am glad Margaret got to experience it. 

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