Mary Fran Meer: 1922 – 2019
Mary Fran Meer grew up in Illinois, attended Northwestern University, and worked in the Chicago area before moving to Washington. She was the first Northwest regional coordinator, in 1993 and 1994, when Haiku Northwest became a region of the Haiku Society of America. She helped establish our regional anthology tradition with the publication of Echoes Across the Cascades, which included poems from HSA members living in Washington and Oregon. Her collection of haiku, Wooing the Meadowlark, was published in 1997 (see PDF version). She lived in Kirkland, near her family.
Mary Frances (Larsen) King Meer
Mary Fran is survived by her daughter Susann King Harris of Bellevue, Washington, son Jack (Barbara) King of Redmond, Washington; grandchildren Elise (Michael) Liptack of Monroe, Washington, Kimberlee (Stephen) Koplan of Duvall, Washington, Joseph King of Seattle, Washington, Michael Harris of Liberal, Kansas, Mark (Renata) Harris of Austin, Texas and ten great- grandchildren.
Although Mary Fran was an Illinois native, growing up in Evanston and Princeton, she also spent her teenage years in Houston, Texas. Her heart never left her beloved Princeton, where she loved riding her circus-trained Welsh pony, Trixi. She would often reminisce of living in Princeton and would say life there was some of her happiest childhood memories. After graduating high school in Houston, Texas, she went on to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority.
During World War II, while her father was serving in the U.S. Navy in California, Mary Fran met and married Joseph E. King Jr. who at the time was serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army/Air Corp. After the war ended, the couple moved back to their native roots of Chicago with their baby girl, Susann Bryant. During those years the family grew by the arrival of a son, John Kimball, where she was a not only a busy mom but a wife who supported her husband’s graduate studies as well as helping him to form his company, Industrial Psychology Inc. in Chicago.
Mary Fran worked in a variety of careers throughout her lifetime. She worked as a copywriter with Leo Burnett Advertising Company in Chicago during the ’50s. While working there on many well-known advertising campaigns, she was credited for the naming of Toni’s Permanent Wave for little girls called “The Tonette.”
In 1963, she moved with her two teenagers to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family. She worked for SPEEA, the union for Boeing engineers. It was there where she met her husband Frank Meer. She was also a realtor, working for George Lister & Company at their Bellevue office. Her dream job, though, was when she created and became the owner/operator of a gift shop called Heirloom Haus on old Bellevue’s Main Street.
Many also knew her simply as Fran and a lady who was very creative, who loved working in her garden, had interests in art, writing, and playing bridge just to name a few. She was also a published haiku poet. She was active in many groups throughout her 56 years of living in Bellevue including the Bellevue Women’s Club, the Bellevue Botanical Gardens gift shop (as a volunteer), the Daughters of Norway, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Haiku Society of America, Haiku Northwest, the Washington Poets Association, and the National League of American Pen Women. She was an active member of Pilgrim Lutheran Church and an enthusiastic member of the church choir.
Fran loved spending time in her home and garden where she also loved all of God’s little creatures, especially her dogs, cats and the birds that visited her feeders.
Most of all she was proud of each member of her family and loved them with her whole heart. She was a wonderful loving mother, grandma and gran-gran who will be deeply missed. At her request, she was laid to rest in Princeton, Illinois.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 10420 SE 11th Street (at Bellevue Way SE) in Bellevue, Washington. Please join us for a casual, light-hearted celebration of Mary Fran’s life, following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Mary Fran Meer’s name.
The preceding obituary appeared on the Barton Funeral Home website on August 14, 2019 (slightly edited here).
Memorial Service Haiku
The following poems were included in the memorial service program, selected by Sue Harris, Mary Fran’s daughter: