Pauline Jarnette Reed

Pauline Jarnette Reed

Pauline Reed of Mercer Island passed away Sunday, August 4th, after an 18-month battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

A fourth generation Alaskan and proud of it, Pauline was born in Anchorage in 1942. She was the daughter of Alaskan pioneers Frank and Maxine Reed, and a woman who possessed a true pioneering spirit. She was the first Alaskan to attend Wellesley College, followed by UC Berkeley. She broke down many boundaries during her life because of her fierce determination and positive attitude together with her remarkable ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. Pauline lived her 70 years with an incredible strength of character.

Pauline was so many things to so many people. She was, above all else, an unconditionally loving and supportive mother and grandmother, unfailingly generous with her time and encouragement. She was always ready to do anything to help her children pursue their dreams. Pauline felt that the hardest part of her ALS diagnosis was that she would not be able to watch her grandchildren become adults, and would miss meeting her future great-grandchildren.

Pauline met her former husband, Don, an airline pilot in Alaska, while taking flight lessons. After earning her pilot's license, she and Don would perform unexpected stunts such as buzzing her in-laws house-party while flying upside-down in an open cockpit bi-plane. Pauline also learned to pilot hot air balloons with her brother, Frank Jr., and enjoyed scuba diving with her friends from the Mercer Island Police Department.

Pauline accomplished things most mothers and women of her time did not do: In 1973, fulfilling one childhood dream, she became King County's first female fire fighter. Pauline was a State Farm Insurance Agent for 30 years with her office on Mercer Island.

Pauline wanted to keep her children too busy to get into mischief so she insisted they have a sport for every season. As part of this plan she spent 30 years as a ski patroller at Ski Acres and Alpental (every weekend come snow or rain). She became a National Patroller and was the first in the family to try snowboarding! In her extra time, she became an Emergency Medical Technician, a member of the Cascade Mountain Rescue team and also joined the Mercer Island Public Safety Department Dive Team that was responsible for retrieving cars that flipped over the I-90 bridge into Lake Washington. She was definitely everyone's favorite at "bring your parent to school" day.

She volunteered each summer at countless swim meets and hauled boats each fall to her children's crew regattas. And she believed education was all-important both inside and outside the classroom so she hauled her family around the globe and to rural parts of the USA, usually with backpacks, tents, and Youth Hostel cards. Itineraries were always loose and money often limited, which led to unexpected surprises like camping on park benches at Greek Police stations, sleeping in roadside fields or beaches, and leaving a lifetime of incredible memories.

Pauline was an adoring grandmother and a friend and neighbor to many. She approached life with a simple and powerful philosophy: "One must NEVER put off the important moments, because they might not happen again. So pause to take time, even if it is inconvenient, to be with those you love, and make memories that last, for they are, what in life, can never be taken away." Her presence will be missed greatly, but the wonderful memories she made while she was here will be forever cherished by her children, grandchildren, extended family, and many friends.

Pauline is survived by her three children, Shelley Elizabeth Reed Buhler (Frank), D. Scott Reed Mackay (of Sydney Australia), and Carrie Reed Scull (Grant), four grandchildren, Elizabeth and Stephanos Buhler, Samantha and Sophia Scull, and former husband Donald Mackay.

A celebration of Pauline's life will be held at a later date. Please consider one of the following charities if you wish to make a donation in her name:

The ALS Association

Evergreen Chapter

19115 68th Ave S Suite #H-105

Kent, WA 98032

Medic One Foundation

Mail Stop 359747

325 Ninth Ave.

Seattle, WA, 98104-2420

Fred Hutchinson

Cancer Research Center

1100 Fairview Ave. N.

P.O. Box 19024

Seattle, WA 98109-1024

Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 17, 2013