Maryln Helen Baer, spouse, mother, friend to many, and lifelong Catholic, took her light into the next room to be joined in a most profound way with God.
Undoubtedly, in the heavenly realms, there is much laughter right now. Maryln was fun. Laughter came easily to her and was contagious. She was loving, compassionate, empathetic, and accepted others the way they were.
Maryln was born in the coastal town of Aberdeen, WA where she attended St Mary’s School then Weatherwax High School. When it came time for higher education, she enrolled in Marylhurst College, an all-women’s liberal arts school run by the Sister of the Holy Names. After one year, she transferred to the University of Washington where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and hearing pathology. While at the UW, she met and fell in love with Duncan (Ted) Baer. They married in 1955 while Ted was in his second year of medical school then lived on Yesler Terrace in Seattle along with other medical students and spouses. They welcomed their first child the following year.
As Ted’s medical school was funded by the military, it meant an equal amount of time was owed in service. Maryln and Ted found themselves on an adventure, travelling to where the military needed them. Consequently, all five children were born in different cities: Seattle; Washington D.C.; Las Vegas; Oakland; and Tacoma.
Both Maryln and Ted were Washington natives, and their attraction to the mountains and water ran deep. After Ted’s ophthalmology residency in Oakland, CA, they moved back in 1964 to their beloved Pacific Northwest in and settled in Fircrest WA. They chose a neighborhood overflowing with children. It was delightful chaos, and Maryln, being the definition of a social being, was in heaven. Lifelong friendships were forged on Forrest Park Drive.
In 1969, Mom and Dad built their own home not far from their first home. This one was “in the woods” and surrounded by tall Douglas fir trees and rhododendrons. Here, Maryln did the bulk of her child rearing with days filled with children, friends, gatherings, and lots of happy noise. Maryln’s favorite time in the house in the woods was a rainy one – ever the Washingtonian.
One gift Maryln shared that was a lesson to us all was to not take yourself too seriously. She had lovable quirks and laughed at herself often. All her friends and family had delightful “Maryln stories”, and no one enjoyed the retelling of those stories more than her. She was able to accept herself the way she was.
Nothing was more important to Maryln than family. There were carpools, soccer games, school plays, stay-overs, family car trips, skiing at White Pass, birthdays, Christmas and Easter gatherings, boating trips to the San Juans on the Tollycraft, endless summer days on Horsehead Bay, and the love and joy of welcoming 15 grandchildren. Not one of us knows if there was a favorite. She loved all equally.
Maryln loved her Catholic faith and was a member of St. Charles Borromeo parish in Tacoma. All five of her children were baptized into the faith and subsequently attended St. Charles School. She was a member of the Catholic Women’s Club where she formed many friendships. Maryln’s community involvement included the Philomathea Society, Pierce County Medical Society Auxiliary, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees, and the Nesika Study Club. Maryln enjoyed seeing a good show and was a subscribing member to Tacoma Musical Playhouse for many years. Since 1965, she was a member of Fircrest Golf Club where she and Ted shared many hours golfing and dining with friends. Until recently, Maryln was still meeting at FGC weekly to share time with treasured friends.
Six years ago, following Ted’s death, she sold their beloved home and moved to Merrill Gardens (assisted living) in Tacoma. It was a perfect place for a social person where she enjoyed reconnecting with many friends. Later, Maryln moved to Living Life Adult Family Home in University Place which was well suited for many family visits. We are forever grateful to Chona, Ray, and Jing who cared so lovingly for our mom.
We are thankful for her dear friends who walked with Maryln through these last miles: Doris Vandeburg, Bev and Jim McCormack, Edna Lou and Burt Goodman, and Judy Brachvogel, and many others.
Preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Duncan (Ted) Baer M.D., and her mother (Helen), father (Warren), and brother (Pat) Pattison, Maryln is survived by her sister-in-law, Pam Pattison, her five children, Ted (Anne), Tim (Lisa), Pam (Peter), Kim (Todd), and Tom (Lynn), 15 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren (with four more expected soon).
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma on March 16th at 11:00 AM, with inurnment at Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to St. Charles Borromeo Parish, St. Patrick’s Parish, or Bellarmine Preparatory School. Please leave online condolences at www.gaffney-cares.com. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 253-572-6003.
Love, faith, laughter, family, and friendship were hallmarks of Maryln’s life. Heaven just gained a treasured soul.
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