Mary Perkins

Mary Perkins was born on March 28, 1914, in Aberdeen, Washington, and passed away peacefully on January 31, 2013, in Seattle. She was the daughter of Steve and Lucy Yarak of Aberdeen. Fond memories were summers living at Pacific Beach, and adventures with brothers, Steve and Rudy Yarak.

On July 4, 1943, Mary married her loving and devoted husband of 61 years, Art, just prior to his long overseas World War II service. Daughter Marie was privileged to be born May 31, 1944, to these wonderful parents.

Mary was Art’s partner in his custom cabinetry business, providing accounting, purchasing, inventory, billing, organization, and vision. She was also Art’s vibrant dance partner—they met at a dance in 1942, and joyfully danced almost weekly until 2002.

A woman of high spirits, Mary also avidly kicked up her heels at Jazzercise weekly from her 60s to her 80s.

Mary and Art did several trips across the country and the West Coast, and enjoyed Maui. In 1985, they travelled with daughter Marie to Germany, Holland, France, and villages in Croatia to visit Mary’s parents’ birthplaces.

In 2004, Art passed away, and Mary moved to Seattle to be near Marie. With Mary’s characteristic vivaciousness and loving heart, she delighted in relationships with Marie’s friends (her Kids), and in new relationships with many people of widely diverse age and cultural heritage. She had an uncommon ability to encourage people, and respectfully assisted others. She accepted assistance with grace and gratitude, often writing thank-you notes. She did many adventures with Marie, her Kids, and her retirement community—lavender and tulip fields, waterfront, beaches, theater performances, yoga, boat cruises. At 93, Mary was awarded the Seattle-King County Inspire Award for Positive Aging in recognition of her full engagement in life. With the usual sparkle in her eyes, Mary delivered this thank-you speech with her advice for living and aging well:

Be with people

Help each other

Try new things

Laugh at yourself

Be grateful

Be as physically fit as you can be

Push yourself

Be flexible


Believe in yourself

Always have something to look forward to

Be curious

Exercise your mind

Wear red

Make the most of every day


Mary will be lovingly remembered for her unique combination of spirit, compassion, wit, intelligence, sense of mischief, courage, graciousness, style, and infectious zest for life.

Mary is survived by her loving daughter, Marie Kroll; her son-in-law, Jeff Graham; her nieces and nephew, Stevani Rast, Tracy Hoefer, Dana Yarak and their families; her friend, Bob Flagan; her Kids; and many friends.