Mary Reeves Leber | Obituary

Mary Martha Reeves Leber died May 13, 2024, at the age of 82. Mary was born in 1942, the daughter of Elizabeth and Veeh (Pete) Reeves. She grew up on her family’s farm in Northwest Kansas.

Her formal education began in the one-room Vallonia School House for grades 1-8. She graduated as valedictorian from Decatur County High School where she enjoyed playing percussion with the band and competing on drums and piano. She received her bachelors in Language Arts and masters in Speech Communication from the University of Kansas and her PhD in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Washington. She was an active participant in debate both at DCHS and KU. She taught at NE Missouri State (now Truman College), the University of Washington, and Bellevue College. Always a teacher, she loved both sides of the desk; in retirement she audited courses through the ACCESS program at the University of Washington.

She married William (Bill) Leber in 1974 and they had one daughter, Elizabeth. Shortly after Elizabeth’s birth, the family moved to Mercer Island where she remained ever since. In addition to her teaching, she was active in University Unitarian Church and Elizabeth’s many activities. She and Bill had core groups of friends with whom they regularly enjoyed dinners and good conversation.

She made her first trip to Ireland with Elizabeth in 2000 and followed with numerous solo and group trips to Ireland over the next decade. She found a real connection with the music and stories of Ireland which resonated with her ancestry. Her joy in her later years was her two grandchildren, Peter and Caitlin.

She is survived by her brother, Jim (Theresea) of Oberlin, KS, sister-in-law Mary Ruth of Winchester, TN, daughter Elizabeth (Andrew) of Seattle, and grandchildren Peter and Caitlin. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Bill, and her sister-in-law Joanne.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 on Saturday, June 22, at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA. Memorial Donations may be made to the University of Kansas Debate Fund (02352).