Lee Grumman, 61, was known not only as the owner of Miller’s Mercantile but as a community member dedicated to making her city the best it can be. As former council member and mayor in Carnation, Grumman spent the past 25 years giving back to the community before she passed away early this month.
A Carnation resident since 1995, Grumman owned and operated Miller’s Mercantile where she ran a retail store and hosted local artists, musicians and community gatherings for years. She joined the Carnation City Council in 2007 and served for 10 years before leaving the council in October 2017. She also served as the mayor of Carnation from 2010 to 2011.
“Lee was an incredible force for good in the Snoqualmie Valley. As an advocate for protecting all that is special about the Valley, she was passionate yet balanced, courageous yet empathetic and always practiced patience and kindness along the way,” said Cynthia Krass, Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance’s executive director. “She had her ear to the ground, and always knew the who, the what and the why about anything going on in the Valley. Lee taught me so much. To say she will be missed is an understatement. She loved this community, and this community loved her back.”
Grumman was a strong supporter of farming culture of the city and agriculture as a whole. Melissa Borsting, executive director of the Sno-Valley Tilth, came to the Valley in 2012 and met Grumman who was instrumental in helping her get started working with the farmer’s market.
“She was incredibly passionate about community and dedicated to all things that were the heart of Carnation and building off the best parts of Carnation, we worked with her because she helped found and establish the farmers market and supported that every year,” Borsting said. “She was also really passionate about local farming and agriculture, and so we overlapped a lot in conversation of how to best support farmers and make sure they were a thriving part of our local economy.”
On March 20, the Carnation City Council officially thanked Grumman for her work through her time living in Carnation with an official proclamation of appreciation. The proclamation lists several aspects of her work in the city including serving on the Carnation Planning Board from 2001 to 2005, becoming the Carnation Chamber of Commerce president in 2008 and starting the Main Street Mavens downtown business group, as well as serving as a city liaison to several community groups such as the Tolt Historical Society and Snoqualmie Watershed Forum.
Carnation Council member and former Mayor Jim Berger said her contributions to the city made serving alongside her as a representative of the city very rewarding.
“Lee’s commitment to the character and livability of Carnation guided many city decisions over the years and have contributed greatly in preserving so much of what we love about living in the Snoqualmie Valley,” he said. “Lee was a very kind and calm person with extremely strong convictions. Her values and how she thought the world could be seemed to guide the decisions she made and that is one of the things that made it rewarding to serve with Lee at the city. I always enjoyed discussing city policy with Lee. Although we might disagree on the basics of an issue, we could always discuss them without anger and usually come to a consensuses on what would be best for Carnation.”
According to Grumman’s partner Jules Hughes, a celebration of Lee’s life will be held sometime this summer. In a note posted on the door of Miller’s Mercantile, which closed its doors last December, Hughes wrote: “We will celebrate her life in a bigger broader way, probably this summer, giving us time to pull so many various elements of her full and extraordinary life together in a fashion she would appreciate and of course we’ll be singing, dancing and playing music.”