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Mary Margaret Knoll: 1947-2023


Mary Margaret Knoll, beloved mother, died surrounded by family on Oct. 12 in Everett, Washington.

Mary was born in Minot, North Dakota, on May 30, 1947, the eldest daughter of Vincent and Nina (Anderson) McCauley. She moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington and initially lived with her maternal Aunt Norma (Anderson) and her husband Robert. While at UW, her sorority threw a toga party and set her up on a blind date. When her date, Paul W. Knoll, arrived, she was informed by a sorority sister that he had come in "a towel," which turned out to be a homemade toga. Paul and Mary married later that year.

Mary's early career included work as a counselor at the UW, as well as applying her considerable talents as a dance therapist working with children and choreographing musicals. After Paul started his oncology practice, they moved to Everett, and then Mukilteo. There, Mary started the Rosehill Ballet School. Her high standards and gregarious style influenced countless children and gave them skills and memories beyond dance. Her students would continue to stop her in the grocery store or keep in touch years after the school closed.

In 1990, Mary picked up the violin after a long hiatus, taking lessons to regain her skills. Soon after, she joined the Everett Symphony and later the Everett Philharmonic for almost three decades. Her leadership skills and musical talents were a natural fit; she helped plan trips – to Austria, Italy, and finally, to Carnegie Hall. Mary was active in the local schools by volunteering with the Mukilteo PTA and supporting her children, Annemarie and Robert, in their own musical pursuits by helping plan musical trips abroad. During this period, she also maintained a studio of violin and viola students.

She also supported others in grief. After the loss of her infant daughter, Mary volunteered with an organization dedicated to supporting families experiencing the loss of a child.

Above all, the highlight of her life was her 37-year marriage to Paul and their time spent traveling together. Initially, Paul was skeptical of international travel. Mary solved this by contacting his friends who lived in Switzerland, purchasing non-refundable tickets, and making him a nice dinner to break the news. They never looked back.

After Paul's passing in 2008, Mary immersed herself in volunteer work with the Snohomish County Hospice and Homecare Foundation, orchestra, and by serving as the de-facto social chair of whatever organization she delved into. She was a consummate host and always the first to offer up her home for a movie night or pool party for her neighborhood girlfriends, bake a special dessert for a gathering, or help plan and plant the most gorgeous potted plants.

She will be remembered most by her family and friends as classy but fun; a storyteller but not too serious; generous, and the life of the party. Please honor her memory by taking the time to call up a friend or relative you've been meaning to keep in touch with.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Paul Knoll, brother Charles McCauley, and daughter Amy. Mary is survived by her son Robert (Coy) of Seattle, daughter Annemarie of Mercer Island, mother-in-law Eleanor-Ann (Thorne) Knoll, devoted friend Susan Davison, and two grand-beagles.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2301 Hoyt Ave., Everett, on Dec. 2, 2023, at noon.

Memorials are suggested in memory of Mary M. Knoll to the Dr. Paul W. Knoll Endowment fund at Snohomish County Hospice and Home Care Foundation 1615 75th St. SW, Everett, WA 98023 or the Everett Philharmonic.