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Maura Harrington


1965 - 2019
Maura Harrington Obituary
She was a trailblazer of all things creative, artistic, political and gastronomic.
She was a maverick.
She understood humans and little creatures and trees and Spirit.
She was kind; generous beyond belief.
She was sharp, quick and smart about it.
She was fluid, easy and graceful in all of her actions.
She was the face of Love.
She raised up the sight line for everyone.

And, not the least of it, she was fun - an adventurous traveler, always good for lively conversation, played great music you'd never heard before and threw together the most memorable dinner parties. She was a prolific painter, furniture designer, graphic artist, photographer and collector, with exhibits at various venues, including the Sonoma County Museum of Art.

Always applying her precise sensibility and innate aesthetic to everything in her life -- good design was everything to her and she didn't lack opinions about it.

She was a storyteller. She spoke French, Spanish and Norwegian and could get by in Mandarin. If she didn't speak your language, she would be sure to connect with you through her eyes and smile.

She was raised in Manhattan Beach, with her parents, Tom and Dianne, and her three siblings, Bridget, Michael and Molly (now very sadly deceased). The family did everything together. Summers were spent at the beach, along with camping and backpacking. Climbing Mt. Whitney was the ultimate prize! Winters were no less adventurous with many, many ski days while at the family cabin in Mammoth. Her siblings became her best friends in life, and the road trips, concerts and parties that followed became legend. She attended Pacific, Center, then Mira Costa High School, spending her entire Senior year as an exchange student in Norway. Because the classes were taught in Norwegian, she learned the language quickly, which contributed to her academic-social life, as well as her soccer, which she loved, as it was played year around.

Upon her return to the U.S. she entered UC Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Political Science in 1988. With her interest in politics she acquired her first job as an aide on the Commerce Committee of the US Senate in D.C. for 2 ½ years. One of her projects was being a part of authoring the Chinese Textile Bill, which passed and became law. Great lesson in governmental politics!

Returning to California, Maura became a pioneer in the city of Healdsburg's community, co-founding the award-winning Flying Goat Coffee with partner, Phil Anacker in 1994. Totally committed to providing the very best quality coffee, they personally visited farms in Latin America, Africa, as well as Indonesia. Maura was always an advocate for equality for women coffee farmers as well as equality throughout the entire process; from the farmers to her staff.

In 2007, Maura married Jesse Shepard, the love of her life. Together they explored art, sports, travel, books, vegetarian food and all of life's best things and were happy to share it all with family and friends, or the soccer enthusiast sitting next to them in an Irish pub. It was the most wonderful time of her life.

Maura was diagnosed with glioblastoma (brain cancer) in 2015. Although shocked and scared by the diagnosis, she and Jesse dove into understanding the disease and finding treatments. She was truly courageous, not wanting cancer to define her life, and so she faced it with great bravery straight on and truly lived life to its fullest. She was always present and caring, so interested in everyone's life. She loved to laugh, and did so often--quite often--which everyone loved. Truly, the world lost a precious being when Maura passed away at her home in Asti, California. She was surrounded by Jesse, his mother, O-Lan, as well as her parents, Tom and Dianne, siblings, Bridget and Michael and best friend, Carol.

For so many, Maura was a north star and a compass. She shall ever be so. A Memorial will be held in Healdsburg.
Published in The Beach Reporter on Sept. 5, 2019
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