Mary Pearce Hartley Fleek

Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Former Douglas resident Mary I. Pearce Hartley Fleek died peacefully on April 27, 2009, in her home of 55 years in Ferndale, Calif. She was 91.

Born April 9, 1918, in Douglas, she was raised in Douglas and Southeast Alaska, and she loved hiking, boating, baseball, basketball and especially tennis. She told of many tennis games played until 1 or 2 a.m. on summer nights in the land of the midnight sun.

She graduated from Douglas High School and business college in Seattle, Wash. The summer between business college classes, she worked as a secretary for the Territory of Alaska Legislative session. After graduation, she and her sister bought a car and drove to California to visit family friends in Santa Monica and also the Hartley family in Ferndale.

She met Jack Hartley several years before while attending a dance. While in Santa Monica, she was offered a job at Douglas Aircraft, which she accepted and where she worked until her marriage to Jack in 1941.

They moved to Burlingame, where Jack worked in the shipyards and Peggy and Sally were born. In 1946, they moved to Ferndale, where Audrey was born, and Jack worked for Challenge Creamery, now Humboldt Creamery. After Jack's passing, Mary traveled back to Alaska to visit her sister.

On one of these trips, she met up with an old family friend, Albert Fleek. Several months later, they married in Juneau, and spent the next 6 years traveling the country in their RV, spending summers in Alaska, and winters in Ferndale.

She spent many hours at her house writing letters to family and friends, feeding and watching her quail, and baking bread and her famous chocolate chip cookies. She also was an active member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church and the Ferndale Museum.

The family would like to thank everyone who has been so helpful and encouraging during the last season of her life, especially Hospice and Humboldt Caregivers, especially Beth.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Margaret Pearce; sister and brother-in law, Margaret and Don Murray; husbands, Jack Hartley and Albert Fleek; and daughter, Audrey Crosthwait.

She is survived by her daughters, Peggy Hartley, and Sally and Jerry Voorhees; grandsons, Kevin and Cheryl Voorhees, John Eric Voorhees and wife, Beth Dunlap, Ryan and Robin Rice, and Jack and Anne Rice; great-granddaughter, Haley Voorhees; former son-in-law, Dean Crosthwait; and numerous other family and friends. Recently, she was pleased to learn of the September arrival of another great-grandchild, to be born to Ryan and Robin Rice.

A private internment was held at the Ferndale Cemetery. Memorial services will be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Ferndale on Saturday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m.

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