Mary Kathleen Uptagrafft
May 5, 1941 – April 5, 2019
Funeral services for Mary K. Uptagrafft, much loved wife, daughter, mother, teacher and friend will be at 11:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2019, at St Ann Church (2120 E 1st Ave). Mary went to heaven on Friday, April 5, at Hospice House South, surrounded by family and friends.
Mary was born in Portland, Oregon to Paul and Ellen Ewing, joining her brother Allan and later her brother Ben. She attended the Madeleine School through eighth grade, and St. Mary’s High School until she moved to Spokane, Washington with her family. Starting at Holy Names Academy midway through her Sophomore year. Mary’s mother was a journalist and was the first to inspire Mary in her writing. She was involved in journalism as copy editor of Holy Names Academy yearbook. She held leadership positions as an officer in the National Honor Society. Mary participated in many clubs like National Scientific Society, and Future Teachers of America.
After graduation she became a fixture during the summer at Camp Sweyolakan, known as “Miss Richie,” to all. Starting as a counselor, she moved up quickly to swimming instructor, then waterfront director. She continued her love of swimming throughout her early life, teaching handicapped children at the YWCA.
Mary enrolled at Eastern Washington State College to pursue a degree in Secondary Education, with emphasis in Journalism and PE. While she was in college, Mary had two children, Eric and Mollie, staying home with them until she graduated.
After graduation, Mary began her career by substitute teaching in Spokane schools. She then started a full-time position at Libby Middle School, teaching PE to 7th and 8th graders. She became affectionately known as “Mrs. Up.” She taught PE for several years, then started teaching English and Social Studies. Mary stayed active in PE by coaching many different sports, especially in Track and Field. She was a great coach! Mary was ahead of her time in her teaching methods. Mary and Kathy Williams taught integrated Science and English before anyone ever heard of team teaching.
Mary was nominated by one of her students and awarded “Teacher of the Month.” She taught Publications and was the advisor for the school yearbook and newspaper. Her Millennium Yearbook (2000) won best of the year for publisher Herff Jones nationally. Mary was flown to Baltimore where they honored her at a ceremony and dinner.
In 1991, Mary completed her master’s degree in Gifted Education, going on to teach Honors English and Social Studies until she retired in 2001.
After her retirement, she traveled throughout the country, always with a camera around her neck. Photography was her passion and if she was not taking pictures, she was looking at them. She was so proud of her son, Eric, and his wife, Sandra, who were the first couple to compete together in the London Olympics.
Mary’s faith was very important to her. She had such a strong belief in God and knew exactly where she was going, HEAVEN!
Mary Uptagrafft is survived by her beloved spouse of 30 years, Dianne Fields, her children, Eric & Sandra Uptagrafft, Mollie & Scott Finn, Jeff & Tamara Mosar, Doug Wiseman, and her brother Ben (Gina) Ewing. She is known as “Grammie Mia” to her three grandchildren, Ted, Garrett and Blythe. Mary is also survived by hundreds and hundreds of friends.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Mary’s name to Hospice House of Spokane – South.
Hospice of Spokane
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Ann's Catholic Church
2120 E 1st Ave
Mary Kathleen Uptagrafft
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April 10, 2019
Mary was a teacher. A real teacher. She taught not only students but those lucky enough to walk in her light. Her killer wit and compassion for others was such a winning combination.