Mary Weller Raber

May 9, 1923 - Dec 29, 2018


Mary Weller Raber, 95, passed away on December 29, 2018, in Carmichael. She was a kind, generous, thoughtful person with a sharp wit, good sense of humor and great curiosity. Mary was born on May 9, 1923, in Walla Walla, WA, to Ruth Huntoon and Lawrence Laidlaw Weller. She spent her childhood in Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR, graduating from Grant High School in 1941. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and moved on to Carleton College in Northfield, MN, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1945. After college, Mary returned to Seattle where she worked for Northwest Airlines. In her spare time, she enjoyed hiking in the Cascades and sailing her boat on Lake Washington. In 1948, Mary traveled by steamship to Europe where she spent 6 months bicycling and hiking. In 1951, Mary took a leap of faith and moved to Sacramento. She made many new friends through activities with the YWCA and the Sierra Club. In addition, she took a job with the U.S. Geological Survey where she met Eldon Lee Raber. After a four-year courtship that involved numerous hiking and skiing outings, the two were married on November 25, 1955, in Portland, OR. They recently celebrated their 63rd anniversary. Throughout her life, Mary was an enthusiastic outdoorswoman, participating in outdoor sports at a time when few women did so. She started snow skiing as a young girl on Mt. Hood when the sport was in its infancy and enjoyed many ski trips as an adult to Lake Tahoe with family and friends. She was a skilled mountain climber and summited all the volcanoes in the Northwest as a member of the Mazamas, as well as many peaks in California. She enjoyed backpacking adventures in the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada. In addition, she loved sailing, camping, bicycling, beachcombing, and tennis. One of her greatest gifts was passing on her love of the outdoors to friends and family. Mary was a life-long learner. She was an avid reader and particularly enjoyed reading about diverse cultures, countries, and history. She enrolled in classes at CSUS through the Renaissance Program. Her desire to learn more about the world sparked an interest in travel. Over the years, she visited Europe, Canada, most of the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean islands, New Zealand, and China. Mary cared deeply about many causes and organizations. She was an active member of Fremont Presbyterian Church, the Sierra Club and the AAUW. She volunteered in her children’s classrooms and was a leader of her daughters’ Camp Fire groups and her son’s Cub Scout den. In addition, Mary helped raise funds for many organizations such as Heifer International, the March of Dimes and UNICEF. She also participated several times in the Sacramento Komen Race for the Cure as a breast cancer survivor since 1974. Finally, one of her greatest interests was serving as a docent at the California State Indian Museum for 20 years, educating children in Sacramento about local Native American history and culture. Mary is survived by her husband, Eldon Lee Raber; son, Larry Raber (Linda Raber); daughter, Carolyn Raber (Weijian “Nico” Ni); grandsons, Tyler and Scott Raber; and granddaughters, Taili and Anli Ni. She was preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Jeannie Raber McFarland; and her brother, Robert Huntoon Weller. A graveside service was held for family on January 7 at East Lawn Sierra Hills Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 19 at 2:00 pm, in Christ Chapel at Fremont Presbyterian Church, 5770 Carlson Dr., Sacramento, CA 95819. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent to the California Indian Heritage Center Foundation, or Save the American River Association

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