MARY JOAN (MJ) GOLDEN BRIGGS
January 7, 1949 ˜ January 23, 2020
Surrounded by family, and with her old yellow Labrador Murphy asleep at her feet, loving mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt MJ Briggs left us on January 23, 2020.
MJ, born in Omaha, Nebraska, January 7, 1949 to John W. and Frances Josephine Golden, enjoyed growing up on an acreage in Omaha. She attended the University of Nebraska on a full academic scholarship, graduated in 1971 and married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life William Robert (Bob) Briggs in 1975.
MJ and Bob moved to Washington State in 1976, following a brief period when Bob was stationed at Fort Lewis with the army. Three of her siblings, Ann, Jay and Sharon, soon followed them to the great Pacific Northwest. MJ and Bob bought an old farm house on acreage east of Battle Ground, WA that became the social hub with friends and family gathering often for pig roasts, volleyball tournaments, or just playing guitars by a fire under the stars.
MJ had a rich career that spanned many economic sectors, but her calling was to serve in local government. In 1977 she started with the City of Vancouver as a Staff Assistant and over the subsequent 20 years advanced to the role of Deputy City Manager, breaking many gender barriers along the way.
In 1997 she was recognized by the YWCA as an outstanding woman of achievement. MJ was always drawn to service and community, a trait she worked to pass on to her two sons by taking them to many “City of Vancouver clean up” events, as well as other city sponsored civic events. She served on many boards and associations, including an appointment by the Washington State Governor to the public works trust board.
Following her tenure with the City of Vancouver, she served as the city administrator for Fairview, OR and Bainbridge, WA. She had been happily retired for ten years, enjoying all that the good life offers-family, friends, gardening, entertaining, cooking and travel.
MJ lived an amazing life exploring the world with her true love Bob, including many sailing trips all around the world. She adored her grandchildren, and will be long remembered for her love of life, generosity, amazing culinary and gardening skills, adventures, kind accepting nature, loyalty, insight, humor and love of anything water-rivers, lakes, oceans. MJ lived her life with integrity, humor, bravery and generosity of spirit. She always had other people’s best interest at heart.
MJ was preceded in death by her parents, John and Josie Golden; husband, Bob Briggs; and sister-in-law, (Linda Golden).
She is survived by sons, Chris Briggs (wife Julia Briggs and son Ari Briggs) and Kelly Briggs (wife Sarah Briggs and children Jackson, Lucas, Hailee Briggs); brothers, Bob Golden and Jay Golden (wife Kelly Golden); sisters, Ann Golden Egle (husband Roger Egle) and Sharon Golden (husband Michael Smith); Kaleb Smith (wife Star Smith and children Ava and Blake); chosen sister, Tammie Ferguson; and chosen nephew Dairen Chase; nieces, Megan Golden Hanks (husband Daniel Hanks and soon to be born baby girl Hanks), Carly Golden (friend Charles Jansen), Bailee Rogers and Michelle Garcia (husband Jorge Garcia); nephews, Cody Golden (friend Bess Pezzini), Trey Rogers, Mike Golden (wife Christy) and Brian Golden (wife Jocelyn); and beloved yellow lab Murphy.
A celebration of MJ’s life is planned for 2p.m. on Saturday, Feburary 15th at Warehouse 23, 100 Columbia Street #102, Vancouver, WA 98660.
Please sign her guest book @ www.columbian.com/obits