Feb. 20, 1945 – March 2, 2022
Marilee Watts McCorriston, 77 years old, of Beaux Arts Washington, passed away on March 2, 2022. She was very loved by her family and will be dearly missed by all. She loved life and always strove to make those around her better including family, friends and the community. We all benefited from her love, work ethic and commitment to excellence. Marilee was born on Feb. 20, 1945 to James and Betty Watts in Seattle, Washington. The Watts family relocated to Salem, Oregon where Marilee grew up on a large farm in the Willamette Valley with her brother, Dan, and sisters, Ann and Bonnie.
In 1962, Marilee started her studies at the University of Washington, where she earned a bachelor’s in communication. In 1966 she married Fred, her husband of 55 years, and would later go on to earn her master’s in teaching at the University of Hawaii in 1968. Marilee was a high school speech teacher as well as the coach for the debate teams at Ann Arbor High School in Michigan and then Kamehameha School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Marilee and Fred then moved to California where she had her two sons, Daniel and Terry. In 1976, the family moved to Beaux Arts where she became dedicated to volunteerism and giving back to the community; first through her sons’ schools and later through multiple non-profits across the Puget Sound region.
She eventually became a highly recognized leader in the non-profit medical sector when she took a position as manager, and later director of guilds and events at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and launched a long and fulfilling career in non-profit fundraising to help those in our community raise funds and increase awareness for health issues that affect our community.
While she worked at the Hutch, Marilee was instrumental in creating and growing the guild system, which enables community members to build their own community organizations that are passionate about raising funds for cancer research in the memory of those who were affected by the disease. Marilee was involved in several dozen auctions, luncheons, golf tournaments, concerts and other fund-raising events each year. One of her greatest accomplishments was participating in the creation and opening of the Pete Gross House, where parents of children with cancer can live close by the hospital while they recieve treatment.
Later, Marilee became the executive director of the Northwest Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation where she worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness through events.
She briefly retired from non-profit career, for a few years, to move to Skagway, Alaska, where her husband Fred was running the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. While in Skagway, Marilee volunteered as director at the Little Dippers Day Care, which was a wonderful way for her to work with little children, help out working parents and give back to the Skagway community.
Marilee and Fred moved back to Washington in 2003, when Marilee returned to the non-profit world taking a position as executive director for the Northwest Arthritis Foundation. Marilee retired full time in 2007.
Despite being well-accomplished as a fund-raiser for nonprofits, her first priority was her family. She was the most wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt one could ever hope to have. She loved being with her family more than anything else. So much so, that just sitting in a room talking for hours would have been her idea of heaven. She always supported her family and friends and made us believe in ourselves and that we could achieve anything. We can see her right now visiting with those in our family who have passed on before. There is so much to catch up on.
We miss your warm smile and kindness of spirit. We love you and we will all be with each other again.
Marilee is survived by her husband of 55 years, Fred, sons Daniel (Marcy) and Terry, grandchildren Charles, Molly and Finley, sister Bonnie Ramsey (Paul), sisters-in-law Mary Lord, Kitty Petersmeyer, Dorothy McCorriston, Betty Musgrave, brothers-in law, Doug Matson and William McCorriston as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents Jim and Betty Watts, sister Ann Matson and brother Daniel Watts.
In Marilee’s memory, please consider donating to The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, The Northwest Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, The Northwest Arthritis Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Also please give to the American Parkinson Disease Association. And above all else, please volunteer in your community.
Information on a service in Marilee’s memory can be found at http://marileemccorriston.forevermissed.com.