Margaret Parrish Paul Stark

StarkMargaret Parrish Paul Stark, 99, on June 1, 2016, in Port Townsend, Wash. Peg was born on December 4, 1916, in her Philadelphia family’s summer cottage in Corea, Maine, a lobster fishing village that nurtured her love of the sea. Her grandmother and her father, who left his job at a steel company when it began making weapons during World War I, influenced her spiritual life. She lived as a teenager in Langhorne, Pa., attending Langhorne Friends School and Greene Street Friends School.

On a blind double date, she met aeronautical engineer Bill Stark. Learning who would be his date, he said, “You mean that scrawny little girl who plays football?” All her life Peg fondly remembered those football-playing days. They married in New York City in 1937. His work took them to Baltimore, Md., where in 1939 Peg joined Little Falls Meeting in Fallston, Md. In the early 1940s they moved to Lake Washington’s Juanita Point near Kirkland, Wash. They joined a mountaineering group in 1952 and discovered the Enchantment Lakes Basin, high in the Cascade Mountains. When Boeing started to focus on offense-oriented military contracts in the 1970s, Bill took early retirement. They moved to Leavenworth, Wash., and founded Family Adventures, guiding hikers and providing camping in the mountains, especially the Enchantments, which were to them a place of magic and myth. They created an area map giving places names from Arthurian legend and Norse myth that are still used by hikers, some becoming official. They lived in (and ran the business from) a log cabin-style house that they named the Chalet. In the early 1980s, after Congress designated the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, they left the Chalet and leased land to establish Scottish Lakes Nomad Camp above Coulter Creek, building platforms for tents and leading ski tours in winter. Peg’s family said that she hiked like a child, going at a child’s pace so that she missed nothing.

In 1999, her daughter Peggy died from cancer, a loss that she called “a sad song in my heart that is always there.” Peg and Bill sold Scottish Lakes when she was 85 and in poor health; in a poem called “Coming to Terms,” she wrote, “This is the step I’ve made / To take Old Age by the hand and draw it into the daylight.” After losing Bill in 2006, Peg struggled to find new meaning in life, relying on love of flowers, birds, family, and friends and writing a daily letter to Bill. She lived her last four years at Life Care Center in Port Townsend, joining Port Townsend Meeting in 2009, attending First Day and mid-week meetings for worship and joining a twice-monthly spiritual nurture group. She was a gift to the meeting, often expressing her gratitude for everyone and asking the meeting to hold itself in the Light. She found at Life Center a special friend, another poet with whom she shared her deepest thoughts and insights. She always had a supply of bubbles for visiting children, treats for her dog friends, and birdseed for the birds that came to her balcony. In 2015, she published The Chalet Book, about her experiences in Leavenworth.

Peg was preceded in death by her seven siblings; a daughter, Peggy White; and her husband, Bill Stark. Mourning Peg are her children, Willy Stark, Lesley Tabor, and Jean Ray; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Peg asked that any donations in her memory be made to American Friends Service Committee Seattle Office, 814 NE 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105.

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