The Madison Park community lost two community treasures in early October. One was a warm, inviting, home-away-from-home for many in the community. The other embodied the joyful, albeit fighting, spirit who shared her home — or in this case, her storefront — with her staff and customers.
Martha E. Harris, whose floral store bears her name, died Oct. 5 after a nine-year battle with cancer. All will remember her for the joy she brought to hundreds, if not thousands, of others through her professional and charitable work and her lightheartedness, even when faced with cancer treatments. Her “keys to success,” as noted in her memorial-service program, were “a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”
She was so successful in her personal and professional life that the Puget Sound Business Journal named her the 2012 Woman of Influence. A few months before, friends and colleagues raised $200,000 during a luncheon to support a cancer-research fund in her name at the Swedish Medical Center.
As her general manager, Bruce Chester, said in an interview about Harris after her death, she had the “ability to do things well — she set the standard. She went after things and did it well.”
To a lesser degree, Tully’s Coffee, which closed on Oct. 14 after the company filed bankruptcy protection, will also be missed. It will be missed not only for being another alternative to Starbucks Coffee up the street, but also for being the place for conversations among friends who just wouldn’t fit in with the newer guard at Starbucks.
Even in the store’s final days, the Tully’s employees kept up a cheerful demeanor as they explained their situation to longtime customers.
As The Real Estate Chase columnist Bryan Tagas noted in his guest column in this issue, it is these people and elements of our communities that make them great. We need to value them for however long they’re here with us, because one never knows for how long that will be.