A Sacred Moment


Mary Elizabeth Tanner Pedersen

April 09, 1922 - December 28, 2014

A long full life, and all that jazz

Mary Elizabeth Tanner was born in Fairmont, Minnesota to Roscoe Weldon Tanner and Anna "Pearl" Glass Tanner. She was raised on a farm in Laurel Mississippi, graduated from George S. Gardiner HS in 1939, attended Dodd College, then graduated from the University of Minnesota with both a BA and an MBA in accounting. She passed the CPA exam in 1953 and became a partner with the Shreveport, Louisiana CPA firm of Heard, McElroy and Vestal. It can't be overstated the significance of a woman becoming a CPA and achieving the position of partner in a large financial company in the southern USA during the 1950s!

Mary later continued working as a private accountant in Seattle, where she raised her two children. She became an instructor of accounting, tax, and personal finance at Highline College and at the University of Washington. She worked as an instructor until her retirement. She married the love of her life, Bill Pedersen, in 1977, and the two enjoyed nearly 40 years of traveling, RVing, hiking, backpacking, hosteling, and dancing all over North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

In 1993, Mary came out of retirement to serve in the Peace Corps for a year, as an instructor at a business college in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.

Mary's favorite activities were travel, her pets (which in her lifetime included horses, guinea pigs, gerbils, cats, dogs, and one white rat), and especially parties, music, and dancing. She and Bill traveled around the country in their RV, stopping at Dixieland and Jazz festivals at every opportunity. In her final days, she was cheered by the jazz music playing next to her bed on the CD player.

Mary is survived by her beloved husband William Pedersen; her brother Reet Tanner (Gretchen); her children and stepchildren Jennifer Longstaff (Jim Kruse), Jeffrey Longstaff, Janet Pedersen Caruso (Steve), Perry Pedersen (Rosalinda Rodriguez), Erik Pedersen (Sandy); her grandchildren Carmen Caruso (Joshua Wagner), Brian Caruso (Katy), Ian Pedersen, Leif Pedersen; great-grandson Lee Caruso; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family.


A Celebration of Life will be held for Mary on Thursday, February 19 at noon at the Edmonds Yacht Club, 326 Admiral Way, Edmonds WA. Those who knew Mary are invited to come share memories and to listen to her favorite Dixieland music.

Driving directions are available here.

For more details, please contact the family at their email address: wapedersen@gmail.com The family would appreciate RSVP to this email address from those who plan to attend.


In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary's name may be made to The Nature Conservancy, a charity she supported for many years.


To Laugh

To laugh often and much; to win the
respect of intelligent people and the affection
of children; to earn the appreciation of honest
critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a
healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social
condition; to know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived. This is to have

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love Lives On

Those we love remain with us,

for Love itself lives on.
Cherished memories never fade;
because one loved is gone.

Those we love can never be
more than a thought apart,
for as long as there's a memory
they live on in our heart.
Think of her as living
in the hearts of those she touched,
for nothing loved is ever lost,
and she was loved so much.

Author Unknown

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