Anita Ingram ‘Nina’ Morean, 57, longtime Aberdeen resident, actress, and General Manager of the SouthShore Mall, passed away on Friday afternoon, May 4, 2012, at her home in Aberdeen after a 7 year battle with colon cancer.
Nina was born on April 29, 1955, in Aberdeen to Ernest Miller ‘Ernie’ and Gloria (Willfong) Ingram. She graduated from J.M. Weatherwax High School in 1973 and then attended Arizona State for 1 1/2 years before transferring to the University of Washington where she graduated in 1978, with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama, with a teaching certificate in secondary education. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.
Nina met her husband of 32 years, Gary A. Morean, at the UW. On June 30, 1979, Nina married Gary at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen. They moved to Salem, Ore. for 2 years while Gary completed his law degree, before returning to start a family in Aberdeen.
Upon her return to Aberdeen, Nina worked briefly for an engineering firm at the Satsop Nuke Site, then for a year as the Executive Assistant to the Manager at Grays Harbor Paper. In 1982, Nina began working as the Marketing Director at the recently constructed SouthShore Mall. In her second year at the Mall Nina received a Maxi Award from the International Council for Shopping Centers for the nation’s best marketing/promotional effort for that year. A year later she was promoted to the position of General Manager. She remained in that job until her death.
She dedicated her professional life to the Mall and continued to work full-time in spite of her diagnosis with Stage IV Colon cancer in October of 2004. She was able to maintain her employment in spite of times off for lengthy chemotherapy treatments and multiple surgeries, thanks to the kindness of her employer, General Growth Properties, and the generosity of other company employees around the country who donated hours from their own sick leave to honor Nina’s dedication to the company.
Nina was an active member of many Grays Harbor community organizations. She was one of the inaugural female members of the Aberdeen Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow; she was a longtime board member and past president of the Driftwood Players and the 25-year Chairperson for the theatre’s bi-annual Champagne Opening fundraiser; and member of PEO AK Chapter.
The theatre and the arts were a lifetime passion of hers that she learned early on from her parents Ernie and Gloria Ingram, and she happily shared this passion with everyone who knew her. She sponsored numerous Bishop Center productions and traveled every summer since the early 1970’s to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. An appreciation for the arts and traveling were central tenets of the Morean/Ingram family’s passion for life. Nina shared a particular love of Broadway Musicals with her entire family and attended the theatre anywhere she could find a show.
Nina is well-known to Grays Harbor audiences as a longtime star of the local Driftwood Players’ stage. Nina performed in over 25 productions at Driftwood starting back in high school as a chorus member in the 1972 production of Camelot. She was considered one of the finest actresses in our community, winning best lead/supporting actress honors for nine different productions, including awards for her last three performances at Driftwood in The Importance of Being Ernest (2007), The Vagina Monologues (2008) and The Matchmaker (2010), all while in the midst of her battle with cancer. In 2007, she received the Mabs George Service Award at Driftwood in honor of her many years of dedication to the Theatre.
Nina is survived by her husband of 32 years, Gary Morean; a son, Kyle Ingram Morean of Washington, D.C.; a daughter, Whitney Miller Morean of Seattle; two sisters, Cynthia Cates of Sacramento, Calif. and Pamela Mehlhoff of Aberdeen. Her mother, Gloria, died in 1988 and her father, Ernie, died last October. She also had a brother, Ernie M. Ingram, Jr., who died as a toddler.
A celebration of Nina’s life will take place beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2012, at the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts. There will be a reception to follow at the College HUB.
The family asks that any donations be made to: Driftwood Players Sustaining Fund, PO Box 1956, Aberdeen, Wash. 98520.
Arrangements are through Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen. A message of condolence or a memory can be left for the family at www.fernhillfuneral.com.