Mary Ann was born in Fresno, California, on July 31, 1936, to Hans and Marie Pedersen, the second of two children. When she was 7, the family moved to Portland, Oregon and, while Portland became her home, she fondly remembered the early days in California including a persistent love of California poppies.
Mary Ann attended the Oregon College of Education in Monmouth where she met Bill Briggs. They were soon married on September 17, 1955. The couple initially settled in the Portland area, which Mary Ann preferred because it kept her close to her family. She was willing to move to Astoria, Reno, and San Jose when her husband was transferred, managing to create a sense of home to raise their growing family in each new place. However she always expected him to request a transfer back to Portland as soon as possible. Mary Ann was excited when Bill left Standard Oil in 1971 and they were finally able to settle down in the Portland area long term. She found a beautiful house in Milwaukie with a half-acre of land so she had plenty of room for her extensive garden and her dogs. She enjoyed living there for 27 years before the couple decided on one final move. Mary Ann was able to fulfill her dream of raising horses when they moved to a little farm in Ridgefield, Washington, in 1998. The farm has been the center of family activities ever since. Mary Ann welcomed everyone from her father to her great-grandchildren during her time there. We were blessed to have her with us for nearly 85 years.
She is survived by Bill, her husband of 65 years; her children Jeanne, Scott, and Michael; her grandchildren Carl, Kayla, Lindsay, Shanna, Alicia, Sarah, and Ellen; and her great-grandchildren Liam, Alia, and Jiraiya. She was preceded in death by her sister Jane and her son Steven. She will be memorialized at Rose City Cemetery alongside her son, Steven, and other family members.
Mary Ann completely devoted herself to family. The attention she gave to her children and grandchildren will always be treasured. She was the ultimate grandmother and we all strive to live up to her standard. Ask any of her grandchildren about spending time with her and you will hear endless stories about tuna Mickey sandwiches, cinnamon toast, treasure hunts, fairy houses, sleepovers, amazing dolls, sun ripened berries picked from the bush, gorgeous dress-up clothes, sewing and crafts, playing with clay, horses, shopping sprees, and general childhood magic.
Mary Ann was an insatiable creative with a sharp intellect; she boldly pursued any interest that caught her attention and generally wound up excelling at it. When her grandchildren were grown and she found herself with more time on her hands she dove into the art of quilting, teaching herself as she went along. She had an amazing eye for colors and patterns and was a precise seamstress who loved telling stories through her quilts. She freely gifted her gorgeous quilts to anyone who expressed an interest. Such treasures. Some of her other passion projects included raising orchids, a love she shared with her sister Jane, and learning to play the didgeridoo, although we rarely heard her play as she was very private with performing music.
Mary Ann didn’t just enjoy expanding her own knowledge and skills. She generously taught anyone who wanted to learn all about essential oils, wholesome cooking, alternative medicine, and anything else in her repertoire. She loved discussing what she was reading and was always an open-minded listener. She taught herself to trade stocks and was extravagantly generous with the earnings she made from investing the inheritance from her father. She constantly gave of her time, talents, and self and made everyone feel special. Mary Ann had an amazing ability to give you her all and make you feel like you were the only other person in the room. It feels like everyone she met counted her as a best friend.
Mary Ann said, “life is worth living if we can make a difference for God, which means making a difference for each person that we meet and know.” She did that beautifully. She touched the lives of many and guided her family with love and light.
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