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Mary Nichols Arragon Spaeth ’53

A picture of Mary Arragon Spaeth

Mary Nichols Arragon Spaeth ’53, November 22, 2011, at home in Corvallis, Oregon. Mary was the daughter of legendary Reed professor Rex Arragon [history, 1923–62; 1970–74] and Gertrude Nichols Arragon [honorary alumna and quondam leader of the Faculty Wives Club], and the sister of Margaret Arragon Labadie ’43. The Reed legacy they shared would later include her husband, Joe L. Spaeth ’53, and their sons, Donald Spaeth ’78 and Alan Spaeth ’84, as well as Margaret’s husband, James H. Labadie ’43, and sons, Marc Labadie ’69 and Matt Labadie ’72. “My memories of Reed are too numerous to list, from riding my tricycle on campus as a small child to working in the Reed library when in grade and high school to attending Reed to seeing my two sons, Donald and Alan, graduate. As for what stands out the most while attending Reed, it is starting to go with Joe in April 1951 . . .” Except for a year in England, Mary spent her childhood in Portland, graduating from the Catlin School. She earned a BA in literature at Reed and an MLS from Columbia in 1954; she and Joe married that same year in the Eliot Hall chapel. Joe was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, and Mary worked in the Chicago Historical Society library until her sons were born. She remained a full-time mother until 1967, when she became editorial director at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. She was later named honorary life member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research. In 1971, she and Joe moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Mary was editor and librarian (with a variety of titles) in the Survey Research Laboratory; she retired in 1992. Joe retired the following year, and they moved back to the Pacific Northwest and settled in Corvallis. Both took up golf; they played at the Corvallis Country Club and at courses they encountered during their travels throughout the West. Survivors include Joe, Donald, and Alan.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2012

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