Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Renowned neighborhood leader Vivian McLean passed March 24, 2011 at age 90

Vivian with Rasta
Below is the obituary that appeared in the Sunday, April 3, 2011 Seattle Times, (available for download at 
Above is Vivian with Rasta, her beloved Amazon Parrot, on her shoulder. I last spoke with her on the phone just a few days before she passed, and she gave no hint of impending death or illness. Vivian had been a Seattle Community President and Vice-President, co-chaired the City Neighborhood Council’s Neighborhood Planning Committee, and had a hand in virtually every public effort and improvement in her geographical area over a decades-long history. She always hosted the Federation Christmas Party at her lavishly decorated Pigeon Point home. To get a wider idea of her many accomplishments just search the Seattle Times website for “Vivian McLean”

Vivian’s Celebration of Life will be held at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 8, 2011 at the Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW. Here’s a map.

Rick Barrett

Vivian Lavane McLEAN Born November 3rd, 1920 in Bemidji, Minnesota to Harry and Lou Cox-Arnold. Sisters Carol, Marion; brother Dale (deceased); husband Donald McLean (deceased). Raised on a farm in Michigan, moved to Seattle in 1948 from Detroit, and settled into her Pigeon Point home until her death 3/24/11. As a community activists/organizer Vivian participated in the City's Model Cities program, and Forward Thrust. Worked as a para-professional in special education at Boren and Denny Junior High and Chief Sealth. Vivian was a Volunteer Coordinator for Seattle Public Schools. Vivian served on numerous Boards including West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Duwamish Peninsula Community Commission, South Seattle Community College Foundation; West Duwamish Greenbelt for Open Space; Seattle Teachers Association; Delridge Land Use Task Force. She was an advocate of green spaces in the Delridge Community. Vivian was involved in the setting up of 13 neighborhood councils. She was supporter of Southwest Youth & Family Services and helped found the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA). She served as capital campaignco-chairwoman of the DNDA Three Projects One Community Campaign, which raised $30 million to build 93 affordable housing units, a new location for the West Seattle Food Bank, and the development of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Survived by Daughters Anne Dennison, Sandra Hein, Sons Brian and Bruce McLean, six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life will be Saturday April 9th at 2:30pm at the Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, 98106. Memorials can be sent to DNDA (Delridge Neighborhood Development Association).

Here are some comments on the West Seattle Blog's story about her 90th Birthday party on November 4th 2010:


  1. Vivian is tryly an inspiring neighbor leader who has led the eay for many years. Thanks to Vivian we all have a much better Delridge community to live in today.
    Comment by Pete — November 14, 10 10:58 am #
  2. Happy Birthday, Vivian!
    Comment by miws — November 14, 10 11:01 am #
  3. So beautiful and strong! Wow!
    Comment by I. Ponder — November 14, 10 11:28 am #
  4. Birthday greetings from Melinda & John. I refer to you as the political mother of Delridge. Many thanks!
    Comment by Melinda — November 14, 10 3:04 pm #
  5. Sorry I did not know about Vivian’s milestone achievement. Yet another one! My best wishes for many happy days reflecting on the many stones you moved up the hill!
    Comment by Judy Pickens — November 15, 10 7:47 am #
  6. Happy Birthday Vivian.
    You fill our hearts with happiness and joy.
    Continue your good works!
    Joan Bateman
    Comment by Joan Bateman — November 15, 10 9:31 pm #
  7. I am privileged to say that Vivian was a key mentor in my life. I will be sending her a print of this tribute since I don’t believe she has Internet, but maybe that’s changed. We haven’t been in touch for over a year.
    Happy Birthday to one of the true heroes of our society, who always remained true to her values, helped me and others to learn about community building, and showed me that honey works better than vinegar.
    Comment by celia barry — November 26, 10 7:14 pm #
  8. Vivian has been a mentor, supporter, co-conspirator, and excellent community advocate not only for PP and also citywide. Truly an inspiration and we hope she lives long and, well you don’t exactly prosper as a civic advocate, but you can sure feel accomplished!
    Comment by Stephen Lundgren — December 3, 10 4:35 pm #

Here's her Birthday Picture


and here's a link to her birthday story.


moderator said... to SeattlePOSA

Thanks, Rick for this notice. Vivian was one of the original founders of Open Space Advocates, which grew out of a committee of the Seattle Community Council Federation around 1988, whose purpose was to respond to Mayor Royer's proposed Open Space Policies. She was a friend and mentor to many of us and will be sorely missed.

moderator said...

John and Rick:

Thank you so much for posting this. I had not seen the notice in the paper. Vivian was tireless in her advocacy for open space and the community over many decades. She was always gracious and welcoming. She helped others get involved and become leaders.

After the 1989 open space bond passed and the Open Space Program was created, she was one of the first to take staff members on a tour of her community, to show its needs and opportunities and to introduce the neighbors. She did that with many City staff and elected officials over the decades.

She was a wonderful person, and a model to us all, as I am sure everyone here can attest.

Catherine Anstett