Off the Press

July 24, 2012

By Greg Farrar

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

There are many measures that can be used to determine a life well lived. How many buildings are named in one’s honor, how much airtime on television is given to broadcasting a memorial service, the total lifetime amount of one’s charitable giving and others.

One measurement in particular is hard to define, because it requires generations of observation not capable in one lifetime. But let me propose a question. How might Issaquah have looked two or three generations from now if Maureen McCarry had not voted against the Southeast Bypass, and had not chaired the planning and growth committee that secured the Park Pointe agreement?

With a little imagination, picture a future 60 years out, with a four-lane bypass and highway to state Route 18, and the big residential development on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah High School.

That would have been just the beginning, and the whole picture sends a shiver up my spine.

If a state governor or congressman attends a funeral, that might qualify as one measurement. I’ve been to two funerals for friends I have known personally and greatly admired in life, a beloved newspaper editor and a famous environmentalist, where a Washington state governor was in the audience.

On July 21, McCarry was honored in a similar way, although former U.S. congressman and gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee and his wife Trudi were simply there as longtime personal friends, not as speakers or listed guests.

Another measurement might be how one faced the future after receiving a daunting diagnosis such as ALS. How does one handle, as Council President Tola Marts said in his eulogy, “the shocking gasp of unfairness that takes our breaths away as if in a fall into an unfathomably cold mountain lake?

“With all apologies to the musical ‘Rent,’ 1 million, 51 thousand, 200 minutes, how do you measure two years?”

She finished the work she was dedicated to, Marts said. She remained active in daughter Michaela’s life, proud of her accomplishments, and sharing pizza and ice cream as often as possible. She was out and about despite the physical challenges. In emails, she kept up in debates of city issues, supported candidates and wrote “just to tell people they had done a good job.

“What have I accomplished in the same two years?” Marts asked. “What have any of us accomplished? We, for whom everything is so much easier? To look to these two years we were lucky, lucky, lucky enough to have had Maureen — as a beacon and as an inspiration to never let the obstacles get in the way of doing what our hearts tell us we need to.”

A hymn at the funeral Mass said, “My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean, and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine; but other lands have sunlight too, and clover, and skies are everywhere as blue as mine. O hear my song, thou God of all the nations, a song of peace for their land and for mine.”

Let us ask that creator to provide, now and in the future, a citizenry and a government of Issaquah that will always care about this city’s skies, pine, life and legacy the way Maureen McCarry did.

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