Maria Massey

Maria Massey

June 1, 1986

to Nov. 21, 2012

Maria Juliet Massey, of Deer Harbor, died on Orcas Island on Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving. She was 26. She is survived by her parents, Joseph and Margaret Massey, and her sister Joanna Rosalind Massey.

A celebration of Maria’s life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. at the church hall of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 242 Main Street, Eastsound.

Maria was born in Washington, D.C. and moved with her family to Vermont in 1992.

She attended the Marion Cross School in Norwich, Vermont and the Richmond Middle School in Hanover, New Hampshire. She graduated from Hanover High School in 2004. After high school, she studied film production and direction at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. and the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Ore. At the time of her death, Maria was living in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island where her family has lived since 2007.

Maria’s passions were the theater and music. Orcas Island is a haven for both accomplished and aspiring actors and musicians. Maria played numerous roles in productions at both the Actors Theater of Orcas Island and the Orcas Center, the island’s center for the performing arts, as well as earlier with the Northern Stage Company in White River Junction, Vt. At the time of her death Maria was working as stage manager as well as rehearsing for several roles she was cast to play in Bertolt Brecht’s “The Life of Galileo,” which will be performed next month at Orcas Center.

Maria’s was a life full of song. As a child she sang in choir and at Hanover High School she sang in the Highlights a cappella group. At home and among friends she sang whenever the spirit moved her, which was often. And in her twenties she became an accomplished and acclaimed blues and torch singer, her beautiful, richly expressive voice moving and thrilling the fortunate listener.

Acting – and singing – were what Maria most loved.  They brought out in the most intense way that bright blaze of spirit and beauty that so enthralled everyone who knew and loved her. 

The Massey family and Maria’s friends have decided to celebrate Maria’s life by establishing a memorial fund to support young people who share her passions. The Maria Massey Fund will provide modest assistance to young actors and singers among whom Maria followed her path on Orcas Island. The fund will support acting or voice lessons, for example, or help meet some similar need, the kinds of things that young actors and singers need but often cannot afford. All who knew Maria know that being associated with support in small ways for struggling young actors and singers would be just how she would have liked to be remembered.

Friends who wish to contribute to the fund may send a donation to: The Maria Massey Memorial Fund, c/o The Orcas Island Community Foundation, PO Box 1496, Eastsound, WA 98245. 

Contributions may also be made online to the Orcas Island Community Foundation website: http://oicf.us/.

Friends are invited to visit Maria’s Facebook page and to add their remembrances and photos to the many already to be found there.