Alice Gregor Rooney
1926 - 2019
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Alice Gregor Rooney

1926 ~ 2019

Prominent arts activist, art school administrator, architectural preservationist, and philanthropic advisor, Alice Rooney, died

peacefully at Foss home in Seattle March 26, 2019. A Seattle native, she attended elementary and junior high school in Seattle, graduating from Ballard high school in 1943 after which she attended the University of Washington, majoring in English. After college she sought her fortune in New York City, landing a job at McCann Erickson advertising agency before returning home to Seattle in 1948. Her marriage to teacher and utilities executive Robert L Rooney in 1953 continued until his death in 1996. After Mr. Rooney's early teaching on Orcas Island, the couple moved to Union Bay Village, married student housing at the UW. Living in Edmonds between 1957 and 1967 the Rooney's raised two children, Robin Lee Rooney (Cassidy) and Scott Corey Rooney. The family moved to Queen Anne Hill in 1967 where Alice continued to live until 2013. She moved to Ballard Landmark a few years later. Alice's parents, Kaare Gregor and Esther Neevin Gregor, emigrated from Norway in the early 1920s. Kaare became a builder/contractor. They preceded her in death as did her brother Ray. She is survived by her son and daughter and Robin's daughter Katherine Anne Esther Cassidy.

Alice's influence on the cultural life of Seattle was profound and affected several aspects of her endless interest in the arts. After an administrative job at the Seattle branch of the American Institute of Architects, she became involved with groups dedicated to saving the Pike Place Market and banning billboards from Interstate 5. This influence was reinforced while she was executive director of Allied Arts, the city's leading urban and architecture preservation activist group which she lead from 1960 to 1980.

Called upon to professionalize and stabilize Pilchuck Glass School in 1980, she was appointed director and remained until 1990. After a year-long fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington DC, Alice was asked to head the national advocacy group Glass Art Society during which she moved headquarters to Seattle and remained until retiring in 1997.

Alice's dedication to Ballard High School foundation led to her becoming an original board member and early president during which she helped secure donations to support student activities as well as forming the Art Committee in 1997 which led to the nations largest public high school art collection, on view today. Her enjoyment of the theater was shared with her children from an early age as was their attendance in support of Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet and A Contemporary Theatre. As Robin put it, "she encouraged both personal and artistic development in us and everyone she met. Without her we would have no knowledge of Art in its many wonderful forms."

A memorial service will be held

at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 27

at Butterworth Funeral Home, 520 West Ray St., Seattle.

Memorial gifts may be made in her name to Ballard High School Foundation Art Committee, P. O. Box 17626, Seattle, WA 98127.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times from Apr. 9 to Apr. 14, 2019.
Memorial service
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April 5, 2021
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Pam Schell
April 3, 2020
I haven't changed my mind and heart about Alice since I last wrote on April 13, 2019. It makes my heart "feel joy" whenever I think of her. Lyn Kartiganer
Lyn Kartiganer
April 26, 2019
Allied arts lead to Paul's being mayor.
When we came to Seattle and joined Allied Arts Alice was like our family. She guided us in such a cheerful way and we accomplished
so much; it was such a fun time, we loved her.
Pam Schell
Pam Schell
April 22, 2019
A tribute to a dear friend and professional mentor for her selfless support of the Arts. Her laughter and joyful presence was a gift to all of us - and her creative juices flow in the life of the Arts wherever she touched it! Marilyn Miller
April 13, 2019
Koryn Rolstad
April 13, 2019
I'm so sorry you've lost your amazing mother and grandmother. Alice was the best. Inspired and inspiring, hardworking without appearing to be, fun and funny. She was so smart about bringing people and resources together to make things happen. She felt to me like the solid place, the center, of Seattle's art world when she was at Allied Arts and ever after. We've all lost a spark plug. I'm grateful to have known her. Love to you all, Lyn Kartiganer.
Lyn Kartiganer
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