Marjorie McBride, Ocean Shores leader, dies at 82

Marjorie McBride, longtime co-owner of Gallery Marjuli and considered by many as one of Ocean Shores’ most revered and influential residents, died on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, at home after a long illness. She was 82.

Raised in Lafayette, Ore., McBride moved to the five-year-old city of Ocean Shores in 1966, lured by an ad she saw in Portland where she worked for a brokerage firm. She was hired by Wendell West, the company that sold lots on the sandy two-mile-wide peninsula. She packed up her three teenage children and headed north.

Her office was a few breaths from the beach. She fell in love with the ocean and the exuberant optimism of the few hundred residents. She had arrived, she said, in paradise.

Her first years there, McBride and a handful of other newcomers displayed and sold art at the small mall near her office, and it soon ballooned into “20 Miles of Art.” Each year, Harborites flocked to the beach, where artists and their work lined the streets from the jetty north to Moclips.

In 1974, she founded the Associated Arts of Ocean Shores, and she meant all kinds of art: plays, art festivals, learned speakers on myriad topics, and even a masked ball with elaborate art work on faces. Work of local artists lined the walls of the Ocean Shores Inn where Alec Takagi, today’s owner of Alec’s Restaurant, prepared gourmet dinners for 800 or more.

The city of Ocean Shores (only incorporated in 1972) named her Woman of the Year in 1974. One of McBride’s greatest achievements was opening an art gallery and gift shop, Gallery Marjuli, with daughter Julie Bitar in 1983. As its guiding star, she discovered and showcased North Beach and Harbor artists, including opening nights and artists in action. The shining gallery quickly became a destination point for locals and visitors.

For 29 years, the gallery was a gathering place for locals who craved beauty and conversation on dark days. It was a primary destination point for visitors who found high-end gifts at reasonable prices. The always smiling, always graceful, McBride continued to work there into her 80s.

McBride was active in other areas as well. In 2007 she co-founded Women Helping Women with experts at monthly luncheons to help women remain independent and in their own homes.

For McBride, helping people solve problems was the key, and her rich mind never stopped producing ideas that she would transform into reality.

In 2012, the Associated Arts of Ocean Shores honored her with its first Outstanding Lifetime Recognition award.

Gallery Marjuli closed in January after a long and eventful run.

A celebration of life service is being planned and will be announced in a later edition of The Daily World.

Arrangements are by the Coleman Mortuary in Hoquiam.