Mary Fran Meer: 1922 – 2019

Kirkland, Washington

July 7, 1922 – July 6, 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 Frances (Larsen) King Meer, age 96, passed away Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Bellevue, Washington, after a long illness. Mary Fran was born on July 7, 1922, in Miami, Arizona. She was preceded in death by her parents Dr. Reuben L. Larsen and Frances Sue (Bannister) Larsen, her two brothers Kimball Bannister Larsen and David Peter Bryant Larsen, and her husband Frank C. 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:


in a dream the wind

pushes the old tire swing

without me


daughter’s dream home . . .

from her deck she views

the lake’s changing moods


a spent leaf

spindles

on a spider’s loose thread


son’s fluting whistle

woos the meadowlark

ever closer


the barn kitten

fills a patch of sunlight

on the hayloft floor


on the back road

crushed clam shells dusting the blue

out of the bluebells


Selected Haiku by Mary Fran Meer

In chronological order, compiled by Connie Hutchison in January of 2019. In addition to these publications, Mary Fran Meer also published her haiku in Frogpond, Geppo, Haiku Headlines, Haiku Quarterly, Modern Haiku, Northwest Literary Forum, South by Southeast, and elsewhere, such as in the national Haiku Society of America membership anthologies.


From Brussels Sprout:


dusting

grandmother’s pride

ruby glass goblets

9:2, 1992, page 40


fireflies flashing codes

dusk to dark

9:3, 1992, page 5


the rising sun

the lake’s deep shadows

lifting

9:3, 1992, page 5


on the back road

crushed clamshells dusting the blue

out of the bluebells

12:1, 1995, page 42


streaking

through midnight stars

the meteor’s trail

12:1, 1995, page 42


lamp light

quilts crazy patterns

on fresh snow

12:3, 1995, page 32


From Chiyo’s Corner:


walking in the woods

the chickadees’ chatter

a welcome escort

1:1, Spring 1999, page 10


at twilight

the lark’s song

darkens

1:1, Spring 1999, page 14


autumn stroll

the puppy chills his nose

in his first rain puddle

1:2, Fall 1999, page 16


frost on the maples

leaf colors warming

to peaches and cream

1:3, Winter 1999–2000, page 10


the candle winks

behind the pumpkin’s grin

1:3, Winter 1999–2000, pages 24–25, in “Unruly and Diverse” renku


a fresh breeze

greets the newcomers

1:4, Spring 2000, pages 18–19, in “Sunbreak” renku (written February 29, 2000)


dripping branches

sun streams through showers

first Sunday in Advent


rugged nurse log

the vine leaves trailing red

a touch of autumn


ferns and sorrel

cascading

toward the pond


sailboats in view

from the park’s high terrace

2:2, Fall 2000, pages 22, 29, in “Keeping to the Trail” renku with Francine Porad


side by side

in the autumn sunset

kite and cloud

3:2, Fall 2001, page 13


From Other Publications:


school bell rings

my garden takes

a recess

“Haiku Northwest Greetings!” 1992, edited by Francine Porad and Connie Hutchison


frozen spring

meets its melting point

drip by drip

Echoes Across the Cascades, 1994 anthology of the Northwest region of the Haiku Society of America, page 3

(Mary Fran also wrote the book’s introduction)


clapper-less

wind chimes

a new resonance

Echoes Across the Cascades, 1994 anthology of the Northwest region of the Haiku Society of America, page 31


beads of rain

the fan opens . . . fills

fresh leaves of lady’s mantle*

“The Swinging Grasshopper,” 1995, edited by Robert Major

*a low-lying plant of accordion-folding leaves


summer breeze

otters laze on shallow rocks

in the slow-moving river

Sudden Shower, 1995 anthology of the Northwest region of the Haiku Society of America, page 20


the barn kitten

fills a patch of sunlight

on the hayloft floor

Sudden Shower, 1995 anthology of the Northwest region of the Haiku Society of America, page 22


spilling over

the weathered grave site

white forget-me-nots

Unbroken Curve, 1996 anthology, edited by Cherie Hunter Day and Ce Rosenow, page 17


a spent leaf

spindles

on the spider’s loose thread

Unbroken Curve, 1996 anthology, edited by Cherie Hunter Day and Ce Rosenow, page 18


From Sunlight Through Rain: A Northwest Haiku Year

Edited by Robert Major and Francine Porad, 1997


Spring:

early spring

rain mixed with snow

splotches the mare’s shaggy coat


wisteria wreathes

the red cedar snag

the thrush’s crumbled nest


Summer:

as the river coils

through the deep canyon

a sidewinder suns


Pacific coast storm

a beachcomber’s bucket fills

with tumbled agates


Autumn:

ripening harvest

apple crates stacked

along the valley road


Winter:

white against white

the crocus breaks through

the winter crust


From Other Publications:


a piebald pony

drowses in the orchard grass

half-munched apples

Cherry Blossom Rain, 1997 anthology, edited by Mary Fran Meer, page 23


the first frost crystallizes the last rosebud

Cherry Blossom Rain, 1997 anthology, edited by Mary Fran Meer, page 24


mountain cabin

a deepening glow

in the cabin’s hearth

To Find the Words, 2000 anthology, page 26


faint strains

float over the teahouse

silken koto strings

On Crimson Wings: Centennial Anthology of the Japanese Consulate of Seattle, Laughing CyPress, 2001, page 12


three flat boulders

span the dry stream bed

. . . the urge to go barefoot!

“Ginko: Northwest Poets at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, April 21, 2002” trifold

edited and illustrated by Ruth Yarrow


autumn chill

curled leaves cradle

the first snowfall

Box Anthology, 2002, compiled by Francine Porad and Marilyn Sandall


falling leaves

crisp and curling

catch the first snowflakes

Wind Shows Itself, 2004 Haiku Northwest anthology, page 28


a spent leaf

spindles

on a spider’s loose thread


son’s fluting whistle

woos the meadowlark

ever closer


on the back road

crushed clamshells dusting the blue

out of the bluebells

No Longer Strangers: Haiku Northwest 25th Anniversary Anthology, 2014, page 52



Mary Fran Meer produced the following publications:

  • Echoes Across the Cascades, 1994, editorial committee chair

  • Cherry Blossom Rain, 1997, editor

  • Wooing the Meadowlark, Bellevue, Washington: Miraclear Press, 1997 (her only book)

  • Wind Shows Itself, 2004, editorial staff


summer

flies by

in a flock of geese