Mary Lou Block: Former Edmonds Port Commissioner had a long career in urban planning

Mary Lou Block

Mary Lou (Fletcher) Block passed away on April 3, 2020, in Edmonds. Beautiful, intelligent, artistic, outgoing, and kind, Mary Lou treasured her relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

Born on February 13, 1940, Mary Lou grew up in Yakima as the only child of William and Carolyn Fletcher. She enjoyed an idyllic childhood and was doted upon by her parents and three aunts. She was proud to have been a graduate of the first class of Eisenhower High School and was among its first Honor Society members. Mary Lou was a song leader in high school and she continued to know all the words to every song she ever heard up until the time of her passing from complications of Alzheimer’s. To the end, Mary Lou maintained an uncanny ability to draw historical details and the names of everyone dear to her from memory.

Mary Lou married Peter Block in 1962 and they enjoyed an active life together – hiking, traveling, skiing, boating, and raising a family. She was a good sport who was always up for an adventure, especially if there was a Starbucks along the way! Mary Lou is survived by Peter, as well as her children, Mary Ellin and Daniel (Joanie), and her grandchildren, Connor and Lauren. She had a beloved cat, Suukyi. Mary Lou was a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday because it provided a special opportunity to express her gratitude for all she enjoyed in life and she hosted beautiful Thanksgiving dinners.

Mary Lou attended Whitman College and graduated from the University of Washington. She had a long and distinguished career in urban planning and earned her AICP certification. Mary Lou held numerous planning positions in Snohomish County, including Planning Director for the City of Edmonds, Assistant Planning Director for the City of Everett, and Management Analyst for the Snohomish County Executive. Mary Lou enjoyed her work immensely, both because of the relationships she developed and because she valued public sector service. She went on to become the first woman elected Commissioner for the Port of Edmonds, where she served for 14 years.

Mary Lou was a talented artist. Her favorite medium was colored pencil and one of her drawings was selected for entry in an international exhibition. Mary Lou’s drawings were often based on scenes from their travels and her artwork combined her careful attention to detail with her keen eye for design and color.

Our family would like to thank the outstanding staff at Sunrise of Edmonds for their care of Mary Lou. A celebration of Mary Lou’s life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a remembrance to Whitman College or Washington’s National Park Fund.

Mary Lou loved the people in her life and was loved by many. She will be deeply missed and so fondly remembered.

7 Replies to “Mary Lou Block: Former Edmonds Port Commissioner had a long career in urban planning”

  1. During my many years working with the Port of Edmonds and its commissioners, Mary Lou Block was one of my favorites. She always greeted me with a broad smile and a cheerful word. More importantly, she was a thoughtful, effective Port commissioner, well prepared, and her decisions were always well thought out. RIP dear lady.

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  2. Mary Lou was the “First Lady” of the Port. She was so gracious and kind to everyone. I was fortunate to attend a regional Port meeting with her and was amazed at how many people from all over the Puget Sound area knew Mary Lou and enjoyed reconnecting with her.
    She was soft-spoken and her words were always a benefit to those listening.

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  3. The Edmonds community should be very appreciative of the many benefits Mary Lou’s hard work and steadfast dedication provided to all of us in her various public roles for more than four decades. I was privileged to have her as a dear friend and professional colleague for almost 50 years. She will be greatly missed.

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  4. Mary Lou was a leader, a mentor, and a friend. Smart. knowledgable, and hard working, she was always gracious. Those of us who knew her and worked with her are better for it.

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    1. Mary Lou was a wonderful advocate for Edmonds. She was a strong advocate for the Marsh and a wonderful mind as a planner for our City. She was a courageous woman and inspirational role model.

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  5. I only met Mary Lou one time with her daughter, Mary Ellin, but I felt her lively presence. Until this moment, I did not realize the impact she had as the first woman to be elected Commissioner for the Port of Edmonds and was happy to learn that she was an artist, as well. After reading about her life and work, I can see that she was a stand out professional and friend to many. Like mother, like daughter. Parents are often measured by the “success” of their children so to that end, I sing Mary Lou’s praises for raising a smart, creative, and caring daughter. I can easily conclude that Mary Lou was a loving and supportive mother who raised a strong individual, dedicated teacher, and kind friend. There is no higher compliment a parent can be paid. Thank you, Mary Lou for your generous contributions to our community through both your family and your work.

    We extend our thoughts and condolences to the Block family and know that Mary Lou’s legacy will be carried on through those she left behind.

    Sincerely,
    Lisa, Ben, Amelia, & Kenny Roche

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