Marit Saltrones Obituary images

Obituary for Postcard Poet Marit Saltrønes

March 13, 2024
by Veronica Martinez

Obituary for Postcard Poet Marit Saltrønes:

Marit Saltrønes (Chris Ness)
April 25, 1954 – January 2, 2024

Late in the evening of January 2, Marit died in her apartment at Pike Place Market. Marit’s health issues had been dogging her for nearly a decade. Free now, she is survived by her brother Erik Saltrønes, sister Annee Ness, nephews Leif (Stephanie) and Olin (Jessica) Saltrønes, Leif & Stephanie‘s children, Ash, Arron, and Kaitlynn, and her godsons Dashiell and Tristan.

Marit grew up on a hill due east of Tacoma, overlooking the Puyallup Valley. Unsurprisingly, she was a hippie and an activist. As a 15-year-old she made the decision to go to summer school for two years in order to graduate high school a full year early. Marit was part of the first cohort at The Evergreen State College. A founder of the school’s paper and the Women’s Health Center, she studied media arts, psychology, and economics. In the years after graduating, she was either volunteering nights at a women’s shelter, or marching in support of “Take Back the Night.” It seems everyone in our community here on Bainbridge Island, where she lived for some 30 years, knew her or knew of her… Or at least knew her Boston Terrier, Pearl. Marit and her former partner, Martha Walters, were both dedicated to Pearl. She went everywhere with them. Road trips to the desert Southwest, camping in the Cascades… When Marit and Martha parted ways, after fifteen years together, they shared custody of Pearl.

Marit began exploring poetry as a way of becoming a better writer. At first, it was wordplay; it became a passion. As with everything Marit ever tried, learning came quickly. Not only did it help her in achieving her goal of a deeper, more textured writing style, but it allowed her to explore events and ideas in a new way. Marit’s keen eye for detail, key to her successes as a producer and technical writer, was also central to her development as a poet. Poetry brought her a whole new family of friends. Marit’s creativity knew no bounds. She loved people. While creating and implementing a new type of organizational system for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Marit needed to teach staff how to use the new system… on computers. This was the early eighties. For many it was their first introduction to a computer. Marit found a respectful, yet playful approach to teaching worked best for her.

Over the years, she used everything she could, short of paintball, to keep her people engaged. Pop-up celebrations, games, and contests were regular activities when Marit was leading. It was important to her to nurture and cultivate the talents of those who worked under her. Some credit Marit as a mentor. She gleefully claimed credit for bringing two particular employees together. A number of the people Marit worked beside became her friends. She met the parents of her godsons as a producer. Consultants and first responders alike were drawn to her warmth and generosity of spirit, brilliant mind, gentle leadership style, and her mischievous sense of humor. Her practical jokes were playful. It could be said that you and I are safer as a direct result of the combined talents of Marit, Nina Jackson, and Ellen Lockert. They could not have accomplished what they did without the expertise of countless trainers and professionals in the fields. Their training materials enabled EMS and firefighters across the nation to keep their training and their certification up-to-date in a timely and cost-effective method. These women received numerous awards for their groundbreaking work in distance learning. The videos they produced are seen not simply as incredible tools for first responders, they are viewed as outstanding examples of the art of videography.

The health challenges Marit experienced over the last decade could not break her will to live her life on her own terms. When Marit retired from Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, she chose to trade Bainbridge Island for Seattle. Having lived in Capitol Hill, Seattle’s LGBTQ+ enclave, at the height of the AIDS crisis, Seattle was still home. In 2016 Marit chanced upon the apartment of her dreams: a brand new studio apartment in Pike Place Market. It had floor-to- ceiling, wall-to-wall windows looking out on Puget Sound, and its roof garden afforded her a nearly territorial view. Marit had Left Bank Books in her backyard, Eltana bagels 15 minutes away, the wonders of the Arboretum, world class galleries and museums, an endless array of amazing cuisines — great coffee — Seattle was her oyster! Then Covid hit and Marit lost her foot to an infection. Three surgeries and three months later, she found herself reliant on a wheelchair. For three years running, Marit spent time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. This last year things had seemed to turn around. She had family for birthday celebrations last summer, and then Thanksgiving. Marit was able to host us thanks to help from her aids, Mary and Katie. They also facilitated Marit’s “epi-curious” explorations in baking and in creating spicy dishes from around the globe. Throughout her life, Marit carried on the family tradition of canning and preserving. In the mid-2000’s she went so far as to explore launching her own line of preserves. The day she died, Marit had made her third batch of her favorite, Belle Helene, in a week.

Marit was a renaissance woman. She was a marvelous combination of creativity, optimism, and an overarching belief in being her best self. In one of her proudest moments, Marit created Early Childhood educational materials pro bono. Former member and president of Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, Marit served on countless boards with Rotary, and elsewhere. From emergency preparedness to farm and food security, Marit gave tirelessly. Her interests were broad and her impact on her communities indelible. Let’s send Marit on to Valhalla in the style she deserves! In a nod to Marit’s epic Winter Solstice parties, Marit’s friends, Nikki and Joe, will be hosting a Spring Equinox bonfire in her honor. Please, bring your notes, your stories, and your sorrows to throw on the fire.

CPL is sending our deepest love and condolences to Marit’s loved ones. We are so fortunate to have known Marit through the Poetry Postcard Fest. Marit and all of her wonderful work will be missed.

2 Comments

  1. joanne rowley

    Thank you for the beautiful obit on this amazing, accomplished woman. I did not know her but am sure to miss her presence on this side of the veil.
    Jo-Anne

  2. Kerry

    Wow she did so much RIP

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