Mary Louisa (Trumbull Pope) Hjort was born to Mary (Castles) Trumbull and Charles Trumbull on January 25, 1943 in Helena, Montana. She lived briefly in Hawaii following World War II, where her brother, William “Bill” Trumbull was born. Both of her parents were school teachers who loved music, and knew Latin. Her father became an optometrist, then returned to teaching. The family lived in Forest Grove, Oregon; Cathlamet, Washington; then finally settled in Auburn, Washington. Montana was dear to her heart, and Mary Lou spent many summers and Christmases visiting family in Superior, Montana, and elsewhere across the state.

Mary Lou graduated from Auburn High School in the class of 1960, and received a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Washington in 1964. She played flute and piccolo in the UW marching band, marching in the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl twice.

In 1964, she married her high school sweetheart, Claude Pope of Algona, Washington. She taught for one year in Auburn, and then the couple moved to California, where Mary Lou continued to teach elementary school for several years. She stopped teaching to raise three children: Wesley, Annette, and Bradley. In 1978, the family moved home to Auburn. The children grew up with the loving support of their mother at every turn. The family made trips to Montana, California and Oregon every year to spend time with a wide network of family and close friends.

Mary Lou would be glad to beat you at a game of Boggle, Scrabble, or Rummikub at any time. She was a lover of clam chowder, chocolate covered cherries, liver and onions, Coke with fresh lemon, tea, and custard. She was the fiercest proofreader and typist around. She was a diligent writer of thank you notes and birthday cards, giver of teacher gifts, and attendee at all class and family reunions.

In November of 1987, Claude lost his battle with melanoma. In the summer of 1988, Mary Lou, Wes (16), Annette (14), and Brad (12), set out from Auburn on a two-month, 10,000-mile tour of the United States. The trip may have been her greatest achievement as a teacher: each of her children learned the true meaning of grit, resilience, and love during that journey.

After all three kids graduated from Auburn High School, Mary Lou married long-time friend Dale Hjort and moved to La Palma, California where she has lived for the past 22 years. There, she became an active member of University Baptist Church in Long Beach. She was a leader in the Lakewood Women’s Club, supporting education-focused organizations. She worked for Teacher Created Materials. She and Dale co-edited the International Order of Runeberg’s Leading Star newspaper. She took great pride in her six grandchildren.

On June 19, following years of struggle with a variety of diagnosed and undiagnosed ailments, she passed away peacefully at her home. She is survived by husband Dale Hjort, brother Bill Trumbull, son Wesley Pope, daughter Annette Wolf, son Bradley Pope, and grandchildren: Makenna, Rylee, Oliver, Claudia, Fiona, and Guthrie.

She will be laid to rest in Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn, beside her first husband, Claude Pope. A Memorial Celebration will take place at Messiah Lutheran Church on July 1st at noon.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the King County Library System Foundation (, or any organization that supports students and educators in your area.

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