Obituary: Mary K. “Polly” Addison |

Obituary: Mary K. “Polly” Addison

Mary K. "Polly" Addison
Provided Photo
Mary K. “Polly”


February 6, 1935 – January 11, 2021

Long-time Boulder resident Mary K. (Polly) Addison passed away peacefully January 11, 2021. Polly was born February 6, 1935 in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated from the University of Colorado and married Mark Addison in 1957 in Boulder.

Children Douglas Addison (Heidi) of Arlington, VA, and their daughters Elisabeth and Caroline; Susan Ross (Randy) of Rifle, CO; Annie Uyehara (Carl) of Glenwood springs, CO and their sons Kai and Taber; Timothy Addison of Lorrach, Germany and Sarah Addison of Seattle, WA survive.

Polly’s life was full. It is remembered here.

Polly’s five children, were all born within five years and none were twins! Her early married life was devoted to keeping all those kids more or less headed in the same direction, caring for husband Mark and becoming an excellent cook. She also saw to it that her family was at Sunday Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas in Boulder.

Much family time was spent hiking Boulder and Indian Peaks trails in the summer. She also made time for plenty of time for tennis with her friends. Winters found Polly organizing ski gear for each child and then spending weekend days teaching skiing for the Alpine Junior program at Lake Eldora.

Polly organized the Parent, Teacher, Staff Association, first at Baseline Junior High School in Boulder and later throughout the district. She later ran for the Boulder Valley School Board but lost the election to the football coach.

In the early l980’s Polly began taking art classes at C U Boulder. Many of her instructors became life-long friends. She stated making prints but oil painting was her favorite medium. Polly exhibited widely during those years and was a prize winner at the 1985 Colorado State Fair. Her sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe is in a chapel at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Boulder.

She was re-discovered more recently and her works were included in the 2014 History of Visual Art in Boulder exhibit. Later in 2019, Polly was honored by the Dairy ARTS Center with the exhibit “The Unknown Polly Addison” that received favorable press.

Also during the 80’s Polly was a member of the now Boulder Museum of Contemporary art Board of Directors and helped it survive difficult times. Polly also wrote the newsletter for the Denver Art Museum’s Alliance for Contemporary Art. She and husband Mark were honored with the AFKey Award for service to the Museum.

During these years, Polly still found time to become a respite care volunteer and a weekly volunteer at the Harvest of Hope food bank, helping the needy take what they needed while leaving enough for those still to come.

A few years after what is now the Dairy ARTS Center first opened, Polly stepped in.

She helped with fund-raisers, the visual art committee and served on the Dairy Board under several Executive Directors. These early years at the Dairy were not easy and Polly opened her checkbook repeatedly to keep the doors open.

Polly curated what was likely the first exhibit of “new media art” between Chicago and the West Coast at the Dairy. Many of the artists she chose years ago now have successful national and international careers.

In 2015 Polly was awarded Dairy Honors for her more than twenty-years of service, not only for the Dairy but for other arts and community organizations.

Along the way. Polly lived a very active life. She became a PSIA certified ski instructor teaching at Eldora, then Keystone and finally as an Over the Hill Gang guide at Copper Mountain where she made many friends to whom she introduced the telemark turn. Summers Polly was part of a best friends Friday ladies tennis group. Weekends saw Polly on her mountain bike with Mark and friends riding single-track trails in Summit County and beyond.

After the children were grown Polly and Mark traveled extensively. New York, London, Hong Kong and Santa Fe were frequent destinations to talk art, see opera and have good food. There was an early trip to the Soviet Union then later to the Russian Far East. Polly and Mark were among the first Americans to visit Communist China during January, 1979. The list of exotic destinations was capped by a 2007 50th Wedding Anniversary trip around the world via the southern hemisphere with children invited to meet them along the way.

Importantly, Polly continued to attend Mass late in life at Our Lady of Peace in Silverthorne.

Polly’s life touched many and many loved Polly, not so much for what she did, but for who she was, just Polly.

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