Mary Lynn Waite was born in Creswell‚ Oregon‚ where she lived on a farm with her parents and brothers and sisters. She graduated from high school in 1969 and earned a degree in Health and Physical Education from Oregon State University in 1973.
She married Mike Waite in 1972 and the couple went to Liberia in 1974 where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer working in a medical clinic and teach at a Catholic school. After the Peace Corps‚ she and Mike went back to Oregon‚ raised three children-Geoffrey‚ Isabel and Audrey-and worked for the Forest Service.
Most of her career was spent in Fire Management. In 1987 she was part of a Northwest regional hotshot crew. Most recently‚ she was a forest analyst and computer assistant on the Homochitto National Forest in Mississippi. She actively participated in support of wildfire suppression during the summers.
Mary Lynn was well known for her Liberian cooking. She and Mike started the West African Pigout‚ which became a tradition in the Pacific Northwest and raised funds annually for Friends of Liberia. She enjoyed traveling and quilting and had sewn quilts for all family members.
Mary Lynn Waite died of a heart attack on February 6‚ 2001‚ in Meadville‚ Mississippi‚ while taking a fitness test required for firefighting. On February 11‚ 2001‚ Mike and Mary Lynn’s daughter Isabel gave birth to a baby girl and named her Mary Lynn.