Michael Norton Yarrow

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Michael Norton Yarrow Obituary
Michael Norton Yarrow

Michael Norton Yarrow (Mike), a much loved sociology professor and organizer for peace and justice, died June 2, 2014, age 74. Mike grew up in southern California and Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. After graduating in sociology from Antioch College in Ohio, he completed alternative service to the draft organizing for peace with the American Friends Service Committee. In the summer of 1964 he registered voters in Mississippi with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's Freedom Summer. While earning a master's degree in sociology at Cornell University he married Ruth Morris, a marriage that lasted 48 years until his death. His doctoral thesis from Rutgers University focused on how Appalachian coal miners understood the issues affecting their lives. He taught sociology at Ithaca College in upstate NY for 18 years where he and Ruth raised their family. There he was active in efforts for a livable wage and ending the nuclear arms race. In 1997 he and Ruth moved to Seattle, lured by their love of mountain backpacking. Here he worked as an organizer for peace and justice, especially at the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation where he launched the Peace Activist Trainee program that has graduated over 90 high school students. Mike was an active member of University Friends Meeting (Quakers), and a board member of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, of the pro-soldier anti-war center Coffee Strong, and of the Abe Keller Peace Education Fund. He enjoyed singing with the Seattle Labor Chorus, working with a group for a just sustainable economy, and adventuring with friends and family with rafts, canoes and backpacks in the wilderness. He was dearly loved for his thoughtful activism and leadership for peace and justice, his warmth and humor. He is survived by his wife Ruth Yarrow, son Matthew Yarrow, daughter Delia Yarrow, and brother Douglas Yarrow, their spouses, and a loving extended family.

A memorial service will be held on July 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm at University Friends Meeting, 4001 9th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Donations may be made to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Published in The Seattle Times from June 12 to June 13, 2014
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