Margaret Bitar "Marge" Raies was born in Aberdeen, WA, to Lebanese immigrants Abdo and Malake Bitar. Growing up, Marge and her three siblings worked in their father's dry goods store, The Golden Rule, in Aberdeen.
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After World War II, Marge met Navy veteran and journalist, Norman Raies, at a church convention. They married in 1948 and moved near Washington, D.C., where Norm did public relations work on Capitol Hill. Daughter Melanie was born in 1949 followed by Jennifer in 1952.
The Raies family moved to Portland, Ore., in 1953, and in 1961, they purchased Chain Saw Age, Portland-based trade magazine. It remained the flagship as their publishing company added several other titles to its fleet. They also acquired a number of residential and commercial rental properties. Marge, Norm and their daughters worked hard to make these family businesses thrive.
Marge was widowed suddenly in August 1973, but she bravely continued the publishing and rental businesses. She slowly liquidated her publications and by 1979, only Chain Saw Age remained. About this time, her son-in-law Ken Morrison, joined the family business, assuming editorial and production duties. During the 1980s the magazine grew substantially and in 1991, it was sold to a larger publisher. She gradually sold her rental properties as well.
Marge was very active while in Portland as a member of St. George Christian Orthodox Church, and many clubs and service groups. She traveled extensively for business and pleasure, both in the U.S. and abroad.
In 1996 Marge moved to Anacortes to be closer to daughter Jenni, Ken and her three grandchildren. She was their primary babysitter, and all enjoyed a very close relationship with their "Sitte" (Arabic for "grandma"). They remember her as good sport, who was always eager to join in their activities.
Marge enjoyed living in Anacortes and walking to the Senior Center nearly every day. She passed away peacefully with family members and devoted care-givers by her side on Nov. 23, 2013.
Marge was entombed at Fern Hill Sunset Chapel in her hometown, Aberdeen, on Dec. 9. This private family service took place on what would have been her 98th birthday.
Marge will be remembered for her kindness and generosity. She was an incredible cook and entertainer. Her Lebanese cuisine was amazing and she hosted many lavish banquets in her home. She remained very fit throughout her life, and loved to dance.
She was preceded in death by her siblings, Edmond, Victoria, and Wilson. She is survived by daughters Melanie Raies in Portland, and Jenni Morrison (Ken) in Anacortes, and grandchildren Brent Morrison in Seattle, Shelby Morrison Glenn (Erik) in Denver, and Alyssa Morrison in Portland, plus several nieces and nephews.
Arrangements were provided by Evans Funeral Chapel in Anacortes. To share memories of Marge, please sign their on-line guestbook register at www.evanschapel.com.
Marge's friends are invited to join her family for an informal gathering to celebrate her life on Friday, Dec. 20th at the Anacortes Senior Center from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. A similar event will also be held in Portland in January.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Senior Center--an incredible resource for the community and source of great joy and fulfillment for Marge. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 1701 22nd St., Anacortes, WA 98221.
Evans Funeral Chapel - Anacortes
1105 32nd Street Anacortes, WA 98221
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Dec. 15, 2013