1931 – 2023
Our mother truly never met a stranger. She had the gift of gab and could strike up a conversation with anyone. Within moments of meeting a person she had learned their entire life story and knew the names of their children and grandchildren.
On January 9, 2023, Mary Pauline “Polly” Bragg slipped away suddenly, and left this world to meet Bob, her dear departed husband of 66 years.
The daughter of school teachers and coach, Richard “Al” and Margaret Nixon, was born in Pendleton, Oregon in 1931. She graduated with honors from Pendleton High School in 1949.
Like her father, Mary attended Oregon State University where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. In college she was known as Polly and became engaged to a Phi Gamma Delta named Bob Bragg. Polly served as both OSU’s, Tri-State Girls’ League, and Associated Women Students’ President, was on Mortar Board, and managed OSU’s Annual. In 1953, she graduated with a Business Education Degree and married Robert Bragg.
After teaching for a year in Corvallis, the couple moved to Pierce County. She taught at Clover Park High School while Bob served at Fort Lewis, where their first daughter was born. After the Army, Dad worked for GE on the East Coast where another daughter and son were born.
The family returned to the Northwest in 1962, settling on Mercer Island. Polly became an avid volunteer in the schools, community, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, and with her beloved Lake Washington Kappa Alumnae Group and PEO Sisterhood. Polly served both groups as President of her chapters and was actively involved until her passing.
In 1979, she was hired by the school district, ultimately teaching at Mercer Island High School where they honored her with the “Making a Difference Award” in 1985. Polly taught business/marketing and served as the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) Advisor. During the 1988 National Convention the National DECA Association selected her as Advisor/Teacher of the Year. In response she stated, “The best part of that was seeing how thrilled my students were for me—a moment I’ll never forget.”
As a coach’s daughter, Polly was a knowledgeable sports fan who routed hardest for her OSU Beavers, the Seahawks (as a charter season ticket holder) and Mercer Island High School teams. Mom was a truly altruistic woman who loved doing for others and making a difference in young peoples’ lives.
She was pre-deceased by her husband, Robert, and is survived by her sister, Peggy Sanderson; her children: Lynn Marich (David, deceased), Julie Bebee (Robert), Steven Bragg (Tammy); grandchildren: Patrick Marich (Katie), Tully Bragg, Shannon, and Kate Bebee; great- grandchildren: Molly and Tully Marich; and nephews, Rich and Bob Beaulaurier, and niece, Beth Walsh.
Memorial will be held at MI Presbyterian Church next month. Donations may be made to a charity of your choice, or to MI Youth & Family Services.