Urashan, aka Margaret Jean Moritz (Pollock): May 17, 1927 – March 20, 2021

Urashan | <em>Photo by David Welton</em><em> </em>

Urashan | Photo by David Welton

Urashan, a musician, teacher, composer, and self-described solitary contemplative, died peacefully at age 93 on March 20, 2021, at her home on Whidbey Island, Washington, having spent her final years on the same beloved stretch of beach in Maxwelton where her grandfather first established a summer encampment in 1905. Her greatest joys were to see bald eagles flying over the Salish Sea, great blue herons fishing in the tidal flats, and the setting sun traverse the horizon as it moved from solstice to solstice.

Urashan was born Margaret Jean Moritz, on May 17, 1927. Her father, Harold Kennedy Moritz, was an engineering professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her mother, Mercedes Kronschnabel Moritz, was a Seattle school teacher until marriage. Her grandparents on both sides moved to Seattle at the turn of the last century, and her paternal grandfather, Robert Edouard Moritz, helped found the mathematics department at the University of Washington.

A gifted pianist and flutist, she graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, and graduated summa cum laude in music from the University of Washington in 1948. She earned an additional degree in music from Yale University, where her high school sweetheart, Rafael Alan Pollock, was finishing his B.A. in English literature.

They married, and much of the next three decades were shaped by the trajectory of her husband’s career and the raising of their eight children. In the mid-1960s she earned a master’s in musicology from the University of California at Berkeley, where she became politically engaged with feminism, anti-war politics, and movements for social equality and justice. After her divorce at age 52, she earned a certificate in computer programming and became a software designer for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

In 2019, she published “The Sacred Ordinary: The Odyssey of a Ninety-one-year-old Contemplative,” a poetic work of creative nonfiction about her early life in Maxwelton and the Seattle of nearly a century ago, and her later evolution as a feminist, musician, and spiritual seeker. She also composed the libretto and music for a feminist dance-opera, “Tropos: The Sacred Wheel,” loosely based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with the focus this time on the woman’s experience. It was during the composition of Tropos that she became Urashan, lover of ancient wisdom and beauty.

Urashan was an insatiable reader with an astonishing memory, possessing an electric ability to draw connections between literature, music, astrophysics, mathematics, the natural world, and anything else that caught her interest. Right up to her death, a conversation with her would easily include the mathematics of the ancient Greeks, new theories of the origins of the cosmos, and the history of the feminine divine.

She is survived by her eight children, Katherine, Mar, Thomas, Sarah, John, Jacob, Michael, and David Pollock, and their partners, Sharon Pollock (Thomas), Asbjørn Moseidjord (Sarah), Eva Wax (Jacob), and Anabel Adler (David); 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren (with a third on the way). Her ashes will be scattered in the Salish Sea in front of the cabin where generations of her family’s spirits already abide.

Her family wishes to extend deep gratitude to the kind and generous women who helped care for and befriended Urashan in her final years: Julia Tewksbury, Janie Pulsifer, Jennifer Lesko, and Kate Poss. Additionally, we are grateful to her nearby neighbors, Bob and Christine Schoeler, Bob and Cheryl Drewel, Andy and Maggie Holloway, and Cory and Gary Stubbs. Their watchful and kind attention enabled her to live out her days as she dreamed of doing, in solitude in her cedar house on the beach, governed only by the tides and the movements of the sun and moon and stars.

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