Mary Alford
Mary Alford
Mary Alford
Mary Alford
Mary Alford

Obituary of Mary Esther Alford

Mary Esther Brock Alford


July 30, 1927 - October 8, 2023

Our cherished Mea left us unexpectedly due to a sudden illness. Though she was 96, her spirited personality was optimistic, youthful and lively throughout her life. Her impact in our lives will remain with us always. She was a spark of light to her two children, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and to many many friends of all ages.

A celebration of her life will be held Sunday, November 19th, 2023 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm at The Community at Marquis Tualatin: 19805 SW Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin, OR 97062.

Any donations in her honor may be sent to : Seattle Children’s Hospital -, P.O. Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98145-5005 or Medical Teams International -, P.O. Box 4288, Portland, OR.97208

More about Mea:

Mea was one of those charming, sparkling people who we just assumed would always be here. Even at 96, she was surprisingly vibrant and engaged. She was cheerful, and often remarked that she had had a wonderful life.

Born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon, she was the only child of parents who deeply loved their chatterbox daughter. Mary Esther (named after both her grandmothers) was an outgoing and fun-loving girl who enjoyed pretty things, singing, dancing, acting, friends, parties, and telling stories. She charmed all her teachers and was involved in everything a small town high school could provide. She learned to ride horseback at her father’s urging, and eventually was chosen to be one of the 1945 Pendleton Round Up Princesses. Much later she confessed that she had mainly done this to please her dad, and she happily gave up riding after she left home.

Mary Esther attended two years at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and then transferred to the University of Oregon for her final two years to be closer to her love, Robert Alford. She had met her one and only “Bob” years earlier in Pendleton on the first day of first grade. There, legend has it, he brazenly kissed her at the pencil sharpener…starting the romance that lasted until Bob died in 2006.

At Oregon, Mea thrived as a Communications major. She was heavily involved in Delta Gamma sorority life as well as the theater program where she had several starring roles. A talent scout told her she could be the next Barbara Stanwyck, but instead she chose to follow Bob Alford and married life.

After Bob completed dental school in Portland, they moved to Hawaii to fulfill his GI-Bill commitment serving as a dentist in the Air Force. How they loved 1950s Hawaii! Determined to have children, they finally welcomed the miracle of Douglas in 1955. After moving back to Portland, Susan came along successfully a couple of years later and they settled into 1950s suburban life.

About this time, Mary Esther adopted a nickname from her initials: M.E.A. For the rest of her life, she was then known to most as “Mea”.

Mea loved being a mom and homemaker, and was never socially idle. Garden Club, PTA, Camp Fire Girls, singing at church, many forms of crafting and handwork, Bible Study Fellowship classes, and regular entertaining in her home filled her years. As her kids grew older, she thrived in a job hiring classified employees for Portland Public Schools. A “people person” through and through, this kind of work fit her perfectly.

As their children married and grandchildren started coming along, Bob and Mea remained enthusiastically involved in all their lives and activities, attending many games, concerts, and recitals. They continued to love entertaining; their Fourth of July celebrations were epic! Dedicated sports fans, they held season tickets to the Portland Trailblazers for years, enjoyed many golf trips to Palm Springs with friends, and were always rooting for their Oregon Ducks!

In their 70’s, they sold their home, bought an RV and adventured all around the country for two years before settling again in Tigard, Oregon. Mea was also thrilled and grateful to have been able to make multiple trips to Europe with good friends, as this had been a longtime dream.

Mea always kept up close and heartfelt friendships with a core of people special to her, supporting and sustaining each other as times and aging became more challenging. She was so good at being a friend.

After her beloved Bob died in 2006, Mea continued staying engaged with family and friends as five great grandchildren were added to her circle. As she became less mobile and her hearing diminished, she remarkably learned how to keep up with everyone through texting - almost always including a plethora of emojis!

Mea’s last few years were spent building new relationships with the staff and residents of her assisted living facility, and enjoying the activities there. (She particularly loved winning at Bingo.) As in her childhood days in Pendleton, she kept her table-mates there entertained with her many stories. She could still light up a room!

For 96 years Mea was a spark of light and joy. We will miss her dearly.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Alford, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Sunday, November 19, 2023
Community of Marquis Tualatin
19805 SW Boones Ferry Road
Tualatin, Oregon, United States
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