Unforgettable birthday gift takes wing for woman

At 92 years young, Mary McKean remains part daring, part inquisitive.

At 92 years young, Mary McKean remains part daring, part inquisitive.

The Auburn woman also happens to carry some semblance of a “bucket list.”

The fact she never had flown in a small airplane caught the attention of family and friends who gave her a belated birthday present on a sunny and clear Wednesday – a loop around majestic Puget Sound at 2,000 feet.

“Wow,” McKean said upon touching down after the hour-long flight as co-pilot to noble commander Shawn Pratt, a 20-year veteran of the friendly skies. “It was really wonderful.”

The excursion says something about McKean, a quiet, fit and petite woman who has the gusto to wander into the scattered clouds at her age. While wing-walking isn’t exactly next on her to-do list, she paused for a moment to consider such a wild idea after circling the Sound from the front seat of a Piper Warrior.

Perhaps bungee jumping?

“Well,” daughter Kathy White noted, “I would call her a daredevil.

“She knows how to have fun. She’s so easy to take. She’s game for anything.”

A retired bookkeeper who spent most of her life in Hoquiam, McKean continues to stay active despite being slowed by advancing time. An eight-year resident of River Mobile Estates, she gets around with the help of many friends and the use of a walker. She sews, knits and enjoys bridge. She belonged to church and service groups. She is a mother of two, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of two more.

She has traveled to Hawaii and Europe, enjoyed the fruits of family and continued to try new things – even after the passing of her husband, Rod, 12 years ago.

But flying always has caught her fancy.

“Every time we came by (Auburn Municipal) Airport, she talked about these small planes,” White said. “She always talked about wanting to go up in one.

“She always has been a curious person. She always wanted to find out about things.”

Those things included small planes, the right size for small people.

Friends huddled – and through the generous support of HomeWell Senior Care and other sponsors


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Valley police chiefs of King County release unified message in response to death of George Floyd

Police chiefs of Des Moines, Tukwila, Renton, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Black Diamond and the Port of Seattle pledge to stand with communities.

Pandemic illustrates the need for government action

Despite spending most of my life in government and politics and working… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Helping community organizations as we respond to the coronavirus

Now, more than ever, nonprofits need gifts of time and money