Marilyn Colyar has been a resident of Heron’s Key since May 2020, but her time in the picturesque town of Gig Harbor, Washington, began almost two decades ago. In 2004 she retired from her assistant principal position at San Marino High School in California and moved north. She became an active member in the Gig Harbor community through her passions of education, activism and music.
At Heron’s Key, Colyar’s background as an education administrator led her to The Scholarship Group, which was formed in 2018 under the leadership of Peter Bulkeley, a resident who was a university professor.
“My job as an administrator, specifically as the assistant principal of academics and counseling gave me the experience and interest for this organization,” says Colyar, who serves on the committee. This year the group affiliated with the nonprofit Greater Gig Harbor Foundation and raised enough funds to give 12 total students from Gig Harbor High School and Peninsula High School scholarships of $1,300 each. Colyar adds, “We work through the high school scholarship foundations to choose students, and we are particularly looking for ‘outlier’ students and those who have a need or are overcoming challenges.”
Along with her work in education, Colyar enjoys playing the piano and singing. She donated her grand piano to the senior living community when she moved in and is often found in the Maritime Room playing the keys. She also regularly plays during Sunday church services at Penrose Harbor, and beyond Heron’s Key, she sings in the Seattle Pro Musica choir.
Finding community involvement always been part of Colyar’s DNA. “A few of us have started a quilting group,” she shares, “so it’s a busy life at Heron’s Key—as busy as you want it to be. You meet so many people who’ve had amazing life experiences in their careers and where they have been and traveled.”
In the Gig Harbor community, Colyar belongs to the city’s chapter of Together Women Rise, formerly Dining for Women, and she also is involved in the city government. She finds a kinship with the residents who also participate in the community beyond Heron’s Key. “I think it’s really important to reach out into the community and be involved, and a lot of people at Heron’s Key do that,” says Colyar. “That’s one of its real strengths, because there are a number of events and groups at Heron’s Key that reach out into the greater Gig Harbor.”