A Beautiful and Amazing Child

Marah Williams – Ethiopia – March, 2012

Her mother says 19 year-old Marah Williams took care of others in many ways unknown to most of us until her death on June 12, 2012. Marah’s mom is Penny LeGate, a former Seattle TV (KIRO 7) anchorwoman and (KING 5) Evening Magazine co-host. Penny says, “Marah was an extremely intuitive, loving person who shouldered everyone else’s burdens.” LeGate says, “They became part of Marah’s internal fabric, leaving her little energy for her own troubles.”

A few weeks after this March, 2012 photo was taken in Ethiopia, Penny lost her daughter who had battled chemical dependency and depression for years. Marah had accompanied her mom on a trip exploring Ethiopia’s remote Omo Valley. LeGate says, “It’s home to many colorful, indigenous tribes that are rapidly disappearing due to development. Marah’s striking blonde hair, tattoos, and gentle heart guaranteed a cloud of villagers gathered around her, especially the children.”  Mom and daughter had traveled together to other countries such as Vietnam and Nicaragua in years past.  Ethiopia would be the last trip the two would make together.

Penny says one of Marah’s lifelines was Northgate Middle College, an alternative high school which is part of the Seattle Public School system’s safety net program. LeGate says, “These struggling teens who don’t fit into a typical high school environment get individual guidance there so they can get the credits necessary to finish high school.”

Marah (left) her mom (right)

Marah Williams – Ethiopia – March, 2012

In order to support other teens like Marah, Penny, Marah’s father Mike Williams, and sister Molly, want to direct memorial funds into a special account called The Marah Project. It’ll award paid internships to youth selected from the Middle College Program in Seattle. The fund will be managed by Teens in Public Service, an organization with a proven track record of 15 years.  Teens in Public Service provides paid internships to youth in community service jobs.  LeGate says, “The Marah Project will give underserved teens a life-changing opportunity to succeed and also provide support as these often forgotten kids work to achieve their life goals.”

It will also be the way one mom keeps her daughter’s legacy alive.

This link goes directly to The Marah Project:


  1. Brenda says:

    What an amazing way to pay tribute to your daughter. Thanks for sharing this with us all. Prayers and thoughts for your family.

  2. Julie Szmania says:

    What a tribute to Marah. Can’t imagine how to take a tragedy and turn it around in a helpful and sincere way. Thinking of you every day and hoping your hearts begin to heal with help from the Marah Project.

  3. christine thoma says:

    I am eternally sorry for your loss…and what a great legacy to leave in Marah’s name…

  4. Ms. LeGate,
    Several years ago, when the Zebra Club opened in Seattle, you and Brian Tracy posed for a photograph with their artist-in-residence, (my brother) Robert Contreras. I thought; what a warm and wonderful woman, so charismatic and full of life! You immediately became my favorite talking head. With a heavy heart, I read today’s article about your daughter in The Seattle Times. Though nothing can ever replace your loss, I wish you peace and a measure of happiness. You honor Marah’s memory with your actions.
    All the best,
    Lou Contreras
    Bellevue, WA

  5. eve reddin says:

    Penny, Mike, Molly – my heart is with you as is my support and love. You may recall my oldest son Tim…..our family is mourning for your loss and praying for a turnaround for Tim. Love, eve

  6. Keep blowing your kisses to heaven. Shane recieves them and so will Marah.

  7. Brian Knight says:


    On July 7, 2012, my 20 year old son Lance passed away from an apparent heroin overdose. He was living in St. George, Utah at the time. He had gone through 4 treatment attempts, 3 in Washington, 1 in Salt Lake City and was working with some wonderful people in a transitional program. All indications were that he was happy and excited with life, while at the same time hiding his relapse from those who loved him. This has broken the hearts of his friends, us (his parents) and his siblings. We are devastated at this loss, it is going to be a long road of recovery for all of us. My heart goes out to you. If there is anything I can do, in any way to help you and your organization, I would be more than happy to volunteer my time. I am not afraid of public speaking at all, and I would love th opportunity to tell Lance’s and his family’s story.

  8. Gina Rose says:

    Hi Penny – Here’s wishing for continued success in helping teens at risk. All our love – Gina and Rob Rose

  9. Theo says:

    Just wanted to leave a reply and thank you for carrying on her name and that spark she had that brightened the earth. she was areal fire cracker. miss her, love her, thank you penny.

  10. Jaid says:

    Marah was such a beautiful person, in every way. I was lucky enough to call her my best friend. She was at heart an activist, she truly cared about people and I think sometimes struggled with not knowing how to help but wanting to so badly. This is really an awesome thing to do in her memory, I can’t express how much this would mean to her. I miss her so much, but am happy to see she lives on through this 🙂 Please donate if you can! ❤

  11. Joyce Myers says:

    Penny I am so sorry for your loss. I too can understand all you are saying. My daughter has experienced very similar problems and attended alternative schools that at least helped her thru school. Her life has been totally derailed by drugs, sex, and tragedy. She is the same age as your daughter and no one can imagine the grief and pain that you experience. My only hope is God and I pray daily for her. It has opened my eyes to a whole generation of kids who have no where to turn. The streets of Seattle are full of them.

  12. Catherine McCarthy says:

    Penny, I think Marah is a spiritual empath, a healer to others. Sometimes healers do not know how to heal themselves, this is their Soul’s Journey. Yet, because of her family’s love, Marah’s energy will continue to heal others, and now it is without the burden to her shoulders. (It was
    wonderful seeing you at Yoga!)

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