Mary Anne Price Mead, 67, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on August 24, 2021, after a brave battle with cancer. She was born September 15, 1953, in Mt. Vernon, WA, to Norma Ellen Abigail (Bates) and Dr. John Walton Price. She grew up in Bellingham, WA, spending her summers at the family’s property on Big Lake in Skagit County, WA. Mary Anne attended Lowell Elementary School, Fairhaven Middle School, and graduated from Sehome High School in 1971. At 16, she landed her first job as a sales associate for Karl’s Shoes; a job that spawned her life-long love for new shoes. She worked her way through college waitressing at the Big Scoop Ice Cream Parlor on Northwest Avenue.
Mary Anne loved classical music. She was a consummate musician, singer, and performer. A favorite expression of hers was “Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats.” Her desire to share that passion led her to enroll at Western Washington State College, now Western Washington University (Western). She received her B.A. degree in music education with a minor in voice in 1975. She was a member of the concert and chamber choirs at Western, and auditioned at the Manhattan School of Music, New York City, where she was accepted for admission in 1973. In 1984, she sang the role of Mrs. Nolan in Ithaca Opera’s production of The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti. Mary Anne performed in several Gilbert and Sullivan productions with the Washington Savoyards in Washington, D.C., and later sang with the Portland Symphonic Choir in Portland, OR. She was an active member of her church choir, and a frequent soloist at weddings, anniversaries, and special occasions.
In 1975, she married the love of her life, Estyn Raymond Mead, in Bellingham, WA. As newlyweds, they spent their first three years in Columbus, OH, while Estyn finished graduate school. They then moved to upstate New York. In 1982, their daughter Sarah Jean was born. Other moves followed including tours of duty in Olympia, WA, Washington, D.C., and Portland, OR. Mary Anne spent most of her working life in the field of public administration, and health policy and ethics. She retired from the Oregon Health and Science University in 2009.
Mary Anne was an avid hiker, seamstress, cook, wine connoisseur, and pinochle player. From an early age, she hiked and climbed throughout the western Cascades including Mt. Baker, Cascade Pass, Crater Lake, and Three Sisters. She made her own clothes and could match a plaid like no one else. When on the road, her crochet and hardanger embroidery projects traveled beside her. Her kitchen was a place of adventure and fun. “I can’t think of anything better to do with family and friends than to be together in the kitchen creating something delicious” was a favorite sentiment. More than once we heard her exclaim “Life’s too short to drink bad coffee or bad wine.” No family get together was complete without a round of pinochle.
Mary Anne was a long-time member of Pleasant Valley Community Baptist Church in Gresham, OR. She served on the Board of Ministry as Deacon of Worship, directed and sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and managed community outreach efforts to feed the hungry.
Mary Anne was preceded in death by her older brother, Wayne Matthew Price, in 2017. She is survived by her loving husband of 46 years, Estyn Raymond Mead of Gresham, OR; daughter, Sarah Jean (Mead) Sperley of Missoula, MT; sisters Norma Jean (Price) Lamoureaux, Katey Ellen Price, and Alice Beth (Price) Benedict; brothers Lawrence Henry Price and David Whitman Price; sister-in-law Margaret Jean (Mead) Davis and her husband James; nieces and nephews Jennifer Andrea (Price) Westmoreland, Ian Michael James, Siri Van Dorn Lamoureaux, Anika Jane Price, and Willem Walton Price; and grandnieces and grandnephews Megan, Ainsley, Kaelan, Naomi, and Margot. Her friends and family were not always by her side, but they were always in her heart.
A celebration of Mary Anne’s life will be held at Pleasant Valley Community Baptist Church, 17608 SE Foster Rd., Gresham, OR. Memorials may be made to Pleasant Valley Community Baptist Church or to Portland, Oregon’s All Classical radio station at allclassical.org. Mary Anne will be laid to rest at Greenacres Memorial Park in Ferndale, WA.