Longtime community leader Maureen McCarry died from Lou Gehrig’s disease July 4, just 18 months after stepping down from Issaquah City Council. She was 62.
McCarry was known for her work conserving land and preventing the controversial southeast bypass project. Her last vote on city council was to conserve Park Point, a complicated deal she spearheaded. A few months later, she won the city’s prestigious Ruth Kees award for her work with the environment.
She used the city’s growth as a way to conserve forests. One became her namesake – McCarry Woods. When Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the honor, McCarry wrote her a letter that talked about the importance of listening to people.
“She was really in-tuned to the citizens of our community,” Frisinger said.
Even after she lost her voice, she stayed active. Up until a couple months ago, she used email to debate with community members over the details of the Central Issaquah Plan.
Her leadership taught the council to never take things personal and to be gracious with people. That good nature has stuck today, said Tola Marts, now the council president. He looked to her example in 2009, when they both ran competitive races.
“She always stayed really positive,” he said. “That helped me get started on the right foot.”
She first got into local politics in 1993, when she was appointed to the Planning Policy Commission, a training ground for future councilmembers. She was first appointed to council in 1998, where she chaired the commission that oversaw the Highlands and Talus development agreements. She didn’t run for an election until 2005, and won a second term in 2009.
In addition to her work with the city, she served on the Swedish Hospital citizens steering committee and was a strong supporter of Issaquah’s schools.
“Issaquah really lost a great champion and a great force for making it a better city. I hope we can all carry the load,” Marts said. “Issaquah lost a great defender and a great advocate.”
McCarry’s survivor’s include Michaela, her 14-year-old daughter, and husband Tom Knollmann. Her memorial services are open to the public.
Vigil, 6 p.m., July 20, St. Joseph Catholic Church – 220 Mountain Park Blvd. SW
Mass, 11 a.m., July 21, St. Joseph Catholic Church