Mary Frances Spears

Mary Frances Spears passed away on May 30, 2010 at the age of 82 as the result of a massive stroke, and is now in the loving arms of God. She was born Mary Frances Bailey on July 25, 1927 in Spokane, WA, to David and Frances Bailey. She was an only child, and the delight of her parents. She attended North Central High School, and later Washington State University in Pullman, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in English Literature and Psychology.  It was here she  met the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Spears, a returning WWII vet on the G.I. bill. They were married in 1949, and moved to Seattle, WA to accommodate Bob’s job with Boeing as an engineer.

In 1954 they welcomed a son, William (Bill), followed in 1957 by a daughter Linda. Mary loved being a mother, and made sure her children had all the advantages, protection, and love she could give them. She never relinquished this job, and later extended  it to include her son and daughter-in-law, whom she loved dearly. She was very creative, and fell in love with indoor and outdoor gardening, flower arranging and oriental décor. She became a very talented cook with a special flair for Italian cooking, which her family enjoyed thoroughly throughout the years.

In 1968 she and Bob moved to what is now Newcastle, and built their dream home overlooking Lake Washington. She designed and installed all the beautiful landscaping on the hillside site, especially delighting in her favorite rhododendrons. From her living room she never tired of watching the ever-changing view of the lake, and from here she fed her beloved feathered friends of all types. She was a consummate birder, with an especial affinity for owls, hummingbirds and loons. She was never without her field glasses, and every vacation included time for birding.

She loved to travel, starting with early camping trips with the kids to the ocean and the mountains. Later she and Bob took trips to farther destinations, touring almost every corner of the country and much of Canada. She especially loved Hawaii with all of the lush vegetation, flowers, and unique birds. But she always returned to the Washington and Oregon coast as her favorite destination.

She was an avid reader with a profound love of books. She worked as a librarian at various times in her life, but it could be said that she had her very own library at home, supplying reading material for all who came to her.  In support of her husband she also became a proficient golfer in mid-life, and insisted on encouraging her husband’s love of the game.  She even had a hole-in-one to her credit! Now every trip included golf clubs as well as field glasses.

She was an avid and knowledgeable fan of all of the Seattle sports teams, but was especially fond of the Mariners. She was staunchly conservative politically, and a devoted patriot with a deep love of country.  Although she eschewed most modern technology in favor of the more traditional ways of life, (“Give me a whale blubber lamp and a goose quill pen!”, she used to say) in her later years she embraced digital photography as a way of integrating all her interests in birds, gardening, and all aspects of nature and its beauty. Add the camera to the list of “never leave home withouts”.

She was always self-effacing and thoughtful, keeping in touch with old friends, never without a kind word or thought for everyone, generous with her charities, had a delightful sense of humor, and was a sentimental softie.

Mary is survived by her husband Bob of 62 years, her son Bill Spears and wife Anne (Lightfoot) of Bellevue, and daughter Linda Matson and husband Charles Matson of Enumclaw. We shall all miss her more than words can say. Her passing has left a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. Mom, we know we’ll met again. We love you.

Mary’s ashes will be scattered on Lake Washington in a private ceremony.

Memorials can be made to CARE, at, or The Nature Conservancy, at

2 Responses to “Mary Frances Spears”

  • Lyn and Joe Lightfoot says:

    We are also saddened by the loss of beautiful Mary Spears and especially send our warmest regards to her husband, Bob. It was a pleasure to read this well-written article which captured her spirit – and did far more. We didn’t know that she graduated cum laude and was such an avid reader. But we should have guessed from knowing her son. We knew that Mary was totally loving, self-effacing, a wonderful cook, a perfect mother-in-law. Surely, God will greet her with open arms. We look forward to meeting her daughter,Linda, and husband Charles. Lyn and Joe

  • Theresa Gehrig says:

    Dear Bob Spears, Bill and Linda Spears, I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear and beautiful wife and mother and I know you miss her terribly. But your faith in that she is God’s precious daughter and has returned to be with God who is Love is a witness to us all. My goodness what a beauty Mary is! I love seeing her on the beach and in the family shot with all in matching sweatshirts! Bob your wife was a beauty and you know what a good wife and mother she was. I have often heard from my dear friend Anne (Mary’s daughter-in-law) what a wonderful mother she was – so loving and indeed generously thinking of her husband and children first.
    I also know how Anne found in Mary a truly loving mother which is a rare gift to be treasured. I know that Mary loved reading and birding and in this I see her love of beauty- and now she is with Beauty itself -God. It is a comfort but I know her family ache as they miss her. I find it wonderful to be able to see these joyful photos which capture Mary’s spirit and to read of her life. Just one example of her generous self-giving is her embracing golf in order to share that with her dear hubsband Bob and it sounds like she became a very good golfer and enjoyed her time on the links with Bob and her family. What a beautiful person! I am honored to be able to know her through this memory book. I am sure that you will celebrate her by sharing stories for years to come. I just love her Luddite spirit of avoiding modern technology (unless it really was useful to her- the digital camera!). I am blessed by getting to know her through this and memories shared. And I extend my heartfelt empathy to Bob, Linda, Bill, Chuck and Anne. May God grace you with strength and the Peace of God which is beyond understanding. Sincerely, Theresa Gehrig

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