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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Soloist lived ‘beyond a full life’

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 31, 2021

Marie Minda Rodkey  (Courtesy of the family)
Marie Minda Rodkey (Courtesy of the family)
By Shawn Vestal The Spokesman-Review

Marie Minda Rodkey was always singing.

She spent decades as the alto soloist at First Presbyterian. She performed in many community events over the years, from the Spokane Symphony to community recitals to other performances. She was also a music teacher, giving voice lessons, substituting in the local schools and teaching at Whitworth College. Whatever the purpose, she filled the family home with her voice.

“That was the soundtrack to our lives as kids,” said her daughter, Sharon Rodkey Smith. “We’d come home from school as Mom was practicing.”

Marie’s final years were clouded by her struggle with Alzheimer’s; she died Dec. 19 at age 98 after contracting COVID-19.

“She was 98,” Smith said. “That’s beyond a full life, and the last 15 years were so diminished.”

Marie was born in Spokane and attended school here until her family moved to Dayton, Washington, where she graduated from high school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education at Washington State University. She and her husband, John, raised three children in Spokane.

She was involved in a wide variety of organizations and activities. She was a deacon and elder in the Presbyterian Church and was active in the music sorority Mu Pi Epsilon, the YWCA, Meals on Wheels, Friday Musical, Stephens Ministry and other groups. She often hosted guests at their home – visitors from regional universities or international visitorsguests – and was devoted to social justice as an expression of her faith.

“She just wore so many hats,” Smith said.

She endured Alzheimer’s for more than a decade, living in the Clare Bridge facility at Park Place.

Plans for a memorial have been affected by pandemic guidelines – as they have with everyone who is losing loved ones now. But the family is working on a video memorial that it will be posted on YouTube on Feb. 13, with the title “Marie Larson Rodkey Memorial.” It will include some fitting footage: clips of her singing, including a solo performance of “Deep River.”

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