Mary June Iverson

Mary June Iverson

Mary June Iverson

Born in Bismarck, ND on June 16, 1937, passed away in Shoreline, WA on May 16, 2017. She wanted everyone to know that she almost made her 80th birthday.

As a young child in Bismarck, she took violin lessons at the Mehus Conservatory with Mr. Truman. Always one to bring laughter, when the time came to choose her own violin, she told him “I’m not interested in the tone – I’m interested in the looks!” However, she must have found a violin with both good tone and looks because after she moved to Seattle in 1951, she performed in the Youth Symphony.

She graduated from Seattle’s Roosevelt High School in 1955.  She graduated with honors from the University of Colorado in 1961, and then attended the Simmons College School of Clinical Social Work in Boston, earning her MSW.  She worked as a psychiatric social worker with the King County north office of DSHS for many years.

She travelled to every continent, doing “adventure” travel long before it became popular. She loved being outdoors and was an inveterate photographer. With Bill O’Neill, she learned how to sail when she was at school in Boston and for the rest of her life, sailed as often as she could, in both coastal and open waters.  Highlights of some of her many, many journeys: In 1973, she travelled from Maui to Seattle on a sailboat as one of three crew members, steering the craft through inclement weather. In 1976, she trekked through Bhutan, Nepal, and India with Tenzing Norkay. In

Mary June aboard the “Phantom” in Cartagena, Colombia, March 27, 2012

1978, she was part of a 12-person group travelling by camel through the remote and rugged Hogger Mountains of southern Algeria. In 1988 she sailed to Antarctica on an Argentine naval supply ship.  She frequently travelled to both North and South Dakota, staying in close contact with her extended family. In recent years, she relished annual trips to Russia, staying with her beloved cousin Lulya in St. Petersburg for several months at a time.

Special thanks go to Dr. Saul Rivkin: Mary June was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 1990, and thanks to his extraordinary skill and compassion, he gave Mary June the gift of life for nearly 27 more years, and gave all of us the joy of having her in our lives all that time.

Mary June in front with nephew Jeff.  Behind her  are (l-r) mother Lydia Iverson, niece Laurie Carter, and sister Alice Percival-1967 on their way to Russia

She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother George Iverson, her sister, Alice Percival, and her fiancé, Bill O’Neill.  She is survived by her oldest sister, Helen Carter, her brother-in-law, W. Keith Percival, her nephew Jeffrey Carter and his wife Lisa Peterson, her niece Laurie Carter, her niece Kim Iverson Headlee and her husband Chris Headlee and children Jonathan and Jessica, a host of life-long friends around the world, and cousins and extended family in the US and Russia.  She was particularly close with her cousin Lulya Zherbina of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Her family would like to extend our deepest thanks to the warm and gracious nurses, caregivers, and dear friend Rosemary Lavery from Park Ridge Care Center in Shoreline.  It’s where Mary June chose to be in her last days, knowing that she would be surrounded by people who loved her and cared for her so well. Her only regret was that she didn’t have more years to travel and spend time with the friends and family she loved so much.

A prayer service will be held at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle at 7 pm on May 22nd.  The funeral will be at 1 pm on May 23rd at St. Nicholas, immediately followed by burial in Wilkeson, WA.

Memorials may be made to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, or to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

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