Maria Zvanovna Roditeleva-Wibe–pianist, scholar, gourmet cook, meticulous gardener, the most loving of wives and servant of God, passed away on October 2, 2021 after battling COVID-19. She was 58.
Born November 18, 1962 as the only child of Soviet parents – Ivan Roditelev, a judge, and Nina Roditeleva, a teacher-historian – Maria showed an early interest in music, excelling at a school for musically gifted children. After graduating from a regional conservatory in Bashkivia, an autonomous division in South-Central Russia, she went on to earn a doctorate in ethnomusicology (world music) in Saint Petersburg, specializing in Russian folk music. In 1999 she accepted a proposal to become an exchange professor at Central Washington University where she began teaching music theory, music history, class piano, and world music. Soon afterwards, she met her future husband and new CWU history alumnus, Mark Wibe; they wed on April 28, 2001 at the United Methodist Church in Ellensburg.
While Maria often revisited Russia, she never returned to live. Instead, she brought her mother Nina to the U.S. (Maria’s father Ivan had died many years earlier when she was only two years old) thereby reuniting them as a family. In 2005, Maria received U.S. citizenship, while her mother also became a citizen several years later. Over the 20 plus years of her stay at Central, Maria regularly accompanied students and faculty members, as well as performing her own piano recitals. In 2006 Central awarded her the Outstanding Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award in recognition of her work; this was followed by Maria's reception in 2013 of the Distinguished Teaching Award to honor her outstanding contribution to CWU's academic life.
Apart from her university career, Maria developed a keen interest in Ellensburg and its natural beauty. She took up kayaking and swimming in the region's lakes and rivers, hunted for morel mushrooms, searched for Ellensburg blues, crafted her own rings and jewelry, introduced her many friends to Russian cuisine, practiced wood carving, cultivated berries, fruit trees, herbs and flowers, and shared her love of the world's music with friends, students and colleagues. While still in Russia, Maria became baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church, but it was not until 2018 that she and her husband joined an Orthodox community by becoming members of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Ellensburg.
Maria was preceded in death by her father Ivan (1964) and her mother Nina (2018); she is survived by her husband Mark and by numerous cousins and relatives still living in Russia.
Viewing will be from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Friday, October 8 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg. The Trisagion Prayer Service for the Departed will be conducted at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at the Prophet Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Mission, 107 S. Dennis in Ellensburg. The funeral service will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 14, also at the Mission, with burial to follow at approximately noon at the IOOF Cemetery, 1900 Brick Road in Ellensburg. Prayers of healing for Dr. Wibe's husband are appreciated. Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with arrangements.
A memorial service has also been scheduled for Maria on November 18, 2021 at a time and location to be determined.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Maria and her family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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