In Your Midst


July 2003

In This Issue:
arilyn Maddeford’s quiet presence at St. James Cathedral is treasured by her friends, who include all the priests of the Archdiocese. Marilyn has been secretary to three archbishops and in that role became the priests’ trusted friend and advocate. Her other fans are the many St. James parishioners who have worked with her in myriad volunteer opportunities since 1988.

Marilyn and her family moved to Seattle from Anchorage in 1971, where she had been secretary to Archbishop Joseph T. Ryan for six years. In August of 1975 Marilyn signed on as secretary to Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen and to Father Michael G. Ryan, then Archdiocesan chancellor. Since the Chancery office is across the street from St. James, this made for easy access to St. James Cathedral where she continued her practice of attending daily Mass.

Marilyn Maddeford

Somewhere in the 1980s the title “secretary” evolved into “administrative assistant” and Marilyn continued in this role until Archbishop Hunthausen retired in August 1991. She stayed on the staff for Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy and through the first year of Archbishop Alex J. Brunett’s tenure. Marilyn then retired for a year but returned when she was asked back to assist in the front office.

Marilyn’s three-decade career with the Seattle Archdiocese has meant much to her. There were challenging and trying times, especially when Archbishop Hunthausen was the subject of concern by the Vatican, resulting in many hearings and trips across the country for the Archbishop and Father Ryan.

“Outside of my kids, working for Archbishop Hunthausen has been the greatest blessing of my life,” Marilyn said, “and now I still get to do his work.” Since Archbishop Hunthausen has retired to be with his family in Helena, Montana, Marilyn is his Seattle delegate and tends to his correspondence.

After Father Ryan’s appointment as pastor of St. James Cathedral, Marilyn became closely involved in the renovation project and other parish ministries. Early on Marilyn ushered at concerts and special events; she was one of the first muffin-makers when the parish started coffee hours after Sunday Masses. She has also been a volunteer for the Winter Shelter program since its inception. Marilyn sleeps over two Saturday nights a month in Cathedral Place Hall, fixes breakfast for the men and then makes muffins at 7 am for Sunday coffee hours and is ready for 10 am Mass. She has been a sponsor for numerous new Catholics in the RCIA program and welcomed new parishioners at the Newcomers’ Receptions.

What with being an assistant to three Seattle archbishops and involved in many parish activities you might think Marilyn’s days were full enough. But that’s not all: the loves of her life are her seven children, 21 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. They are: Keith and Linda Maddeford (with 13 children); Christine Cummings and her family of four; Eileen and John Payseur (with two children); Anne Maddeford; Marilyn Ruthledge (with two children); Lee Maddeford; and Mary Jo Maddeford.


isters Peggy Vanhee and Agnes Packard, who began their lives together on a dairy farm outside of Bellingham, now share that same closeness over 70 years later as residents of Chancery Place Apartments. Their parents, Oliver and Frances Wolfe soon opted out of farm life and moved to West Seattle where Peggy and Agnes grew up with three brothers and another sister. Life went on with education, careers, marriages and children, divorces and deaths. Agnes retired as secretary at Coe Elementary School after 14 years. Peggy was an accountant for years. She moved into St. James parish in 1964 when Bishop Thomas E. Gill was pastor. Agnes was one of the first residents of Chancery Place, the apartment building that adjoins the Chancery Office. In 1983 Peggy, who had lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years, joined Agnes.

Agnes Packard and Peggy Vanhee

They were soon president and secretary of the building council and did this on and off for years. They would cook up a storm and serve the other tenants breakfast, lunch and dinner for special events in the common room.

Agnes joined Peggy in becoming busy across the street at St. James. Father William Gallagher was pastor when the Annual Catholic Appeal began and he asked for their help. They haven’t stopped. Each year they sort and alphabetize the envelopes for the Annual Appeal and are weekly counters for the Sunday and Holy Day collections.

Agnes and Peggy love a party-their favorite holiday being St. Patrick’s Day. In years past, they were in charge of the annual parish party. One year it was a mime show; another year it was entertainment from the ranks including Father Tony Haycock singing, playing the harmonica and guitar, or Bishop George Thomas (then Father Thomas), playing the piano!

You can catch up with Peggy and Agnes at the Annual Parish Picnic this month at their “special table.” They always seem to have some extra treats to share with their fellow parishioners!

Joan McDonell is a St. James parishioner and member of the Development Committee.

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