Gail Ann
Joan Mraz, left, with her sister Diane Tice, at last year's Southwest Historical Society luncheon at Salty's on Alki.

Joan Mraz, co-founder of SW Seattle Historical Society passes away

Southwest Seattle Historical Society Executive Director Clay Eals shared some sad news with the Herald regarding the passing of community activist and co-founder of the Society Joan Mraz.


Following is a letter written by Board President Marcy Johnsen and the official obituary.

Hello all,

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you the passing Joan Mraz on Monday February 24th 2014.

For those of you newer folks, Joan (pronounced Jo-an) was a co-founder of our Southwest Seattle Historical Society in 1984, having been contacted by Elliott Couden, a local realtor also interested in history and preservation. You can read the history brief on our website:

Joan was very active in the organization over the years and served in many roles on the board of trustees including membership secretary, and president from 2000 to 2005.

Joan consistently promoted the Society's mission- to promote heritage in the local community through education preservation and advocacy. She always had a membership brochure in her purse so she could encourage others to join, and reminded us all in voice and action that we "just keep getting better organized."

Although Joan left the board of trustees she remained an interested, engaging member of the SWSHS, the organization she so loved. Her smile, her wit, her diplomacy, her many heartfelt gifts of mentoring, time, energy and fiscal support will long be remembered.

Our deep condolences to her family. May she rest in peace.

A memorial service is planned by the family and will be held March 9th at 1pm at
St. Paul's of Shorewood Lutheran Church

11620 21st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98146
(206) 244-2112

Marcy Johnsen

Official Obituary
Joan Bailey Mraz, beloved mother, grandmother, sister and lifelong West Seattle resident, passed away peacefully on Feb. 24, 2014, at Providence Mount St Vincent. She was the firstborn twin of Ruth and Glen Bailey on July 29, 1935.

She was Senior Class president and graduated in the class of 1953 from West Seattle High School. Joan won an art scholarship to Seattle University, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts. She went on to teach art and art history at South Seattle Community College and was co-founder and former president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Joan was a fighter. She received a kidney transplant in 1989, which lasted the rest of her life.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband Elemer Mraz in 1996 and son Steven Roger Mraz in 2008. She is survived by her twin sister Diane Tice of Seattle, daughter Kristina (Graham) van Etten of Sydney, Australia, son Oscar (Nicole Devine) Mraz of Seattle and Mark (Bridget) Mraz of Edmonds. Joan was a proud grandmother to Lauren, Jordan and Nathan van Etten of Sydney, Australia, Marguerite Devine-Mraz of Seattle and Lukas and Kellen Mraz of Edmonds. She will always be remembered for her smile, caring attitude, love and deep affection for others.

The family asks that remembrances may be made to Northwest Kidney Centers (PO Box 3035, Seattle, WA 98114) or Southwest Seattle Historical Society (Log House Museum, 3003 61st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116).

A celebration of Joan’s life will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, at St Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church, 11620 21st Ave S.W., Seattle, WA, 98146. Please sign Joan's online guestbook at

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