Mary Mead Smith Grafious


Last updated 5/19/2023 at 7:47am

Mary Mead Smith Grafious

Mary Mead Smith Grafious

July 11, 1916 to April 24, 2023

Mary Mead Smith Grafious passed away peacefully April 24, 2023, at Everest Adult Family Home in Shoreline, Wash., at the age of 106.

At the time of her passing, she was in hospice care with family by her side as she took her last breath on this Earth.

Mary was born July 11, 1916, in Newport, Ore. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Lewis Carlisle and Ada May Smith; sisters, Sarah Pears, Rachael May, Florence Evelyn and Margret Helen; brothers, Lewis Carlisle, Robert Bigger, Samuel Mead and John Palmer; daughter and son-in-law, Sally (Sarah) and John Havens; son, Robert Grafious; and son-in-law Harry Wirth.

She is survived by her daughter, Judith Wirth; son, Phillip (Judy) Grafious; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Mary grew up in Newport, Ore. among the sand dunes and beaches. Her faith was central in her life, growing up Presbyterian.

She enjoyed playing the piano with her siblings and was very active in high school, graduating in 1934. She attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., for two years. There, she met and married Louis Grafious on Aug. 1, 1938. Mary and Louis moved to Bellevue, Wash., where Louis was a high school teacher and coach and Mary a housewife. Later, they moved to Wenatchee, Wash., where Louis continued to teach and coach.

Daughter Judith was born in 1942. While Louis continued to teach in Spokane, Wash. and Mary was home with the growing family, they welcomed their second child, Sally "Sarah" in 1944 and Phillip in 1947. Later that year, the family moved to Cheney, Wash., where they built their home and Louis was a professor at Eastern Washington State College.

Mary and Louis were charter members of the Cheney Federated Church (United Church of Christ). Raising her family in Cheney and welcoming their fourth child Robert in 1957, Mary was a busy housewife and active as a Girl Scout leader, various University women's organizations, the PTA and Cheney Parks Board.

Education was central to Mary's life, as the family would often take summer trips as Louis took various teaching jobs in Toledo, Ohio and Alberta, Canada. In 1962, the family traveled to Nigeria, where Louis accepted a position with the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for two years.

They returned to Cheney for a year, then Louis accepted a position teaching for the Peace Corps in Nigeria for another two years. They returned home to Cheney in 1967.

As a life-long learner and civic activist, at the age of 64, Mary went back to college, at EWSC, and earned a degrees in urban and regional planning, and journalism.

Mary and son Rob moved to Edmonds, Wash., in 1971, when she and Louis divorced. They spent time the next year traveling to Mexico and Central America.

Mary continued to be independent and settlef in Seattle, Wash., where she turned her house into a boarding home, welcoming University of Washington students. She obtained her master's degree in docial eork from UW and worked for state Child Protective Services, retiring at age 81.

In 1996, Mary sold her home, moved a condo where she lived from 1996-2020.

As a strong, resilient, independent, self-proclaimed liberal Democrat, she contributed to numerous social-justice causes.

She was active with University Congregational United Church of Christ for decades, loved to garden, feed her crow friends, and travel.

She was friend to many, valued her health, loved to eat bacon and butter, strongly believed in taking vitamins and supplements and never drank or smoked.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, P.O. Box 1525, Ranson, WV 25438, and Sacred Earth Matters, University Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 16th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105,

A memorial service will at 1 p.m. May 20th in the sanctuary; University Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 16th Ave. NE, Seattle, a reception will follow.


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