A tribute to Jeanne Towne, beloved Market busker of over 40 years

Jeanne Towne busking in Pike Place Market in 2005

Local Pike Place Market buskers are a steadfast presence in brightening our historic district’s streets with sounds and song. Today, we remember and pay tribute to a longtime resident soloist and activist, Jeanne Towne. Jeanne passed away earlier this year.

For more than 40 years, Jeanne brought joy to Market visitors with her delicate strums on the 12-string guitar and autoharp whilst crooning softly a range of folksy ballads. You could often find her outside of Michou Deli on the main thoroughfare of Pike Place, commanding a closer listen from passersby as she sang in hushed tones like lullabies.

A rare energy amongst the bustling loud vigor of the Market, Jeanne brought moments of calm and kept a low profile as she serenaded anyone who found themselves within intimate earshot. Though without sight, she was an independent force committed to bringing cheer and comfort through her performances almost daily at the Market for decades.

Jeanne Towne posing in front of her tile. (Photo credit: Megan Lee)

On a Facebook post announcing her death, former Market buskers, workers, and community members remembered Jeanne as a “rainbow of light.”

“This news broke my heart,” said Megan Lee, editor of the Pike Place Market News. “Truly one-of-a-kind. I miss her.”

“It was always inspiring and beautiful to hear her play and sing,” Vousdu Caniveaux commented.

“I always enjoyed listening to and talking to Jeannie. I’m fortunate to have known her,” David Collins commented. “She was a special person, that didn’t let her being unable to see prevent her from living life to the fullest.”

We are grateful for her dedication to sharing her talents and enlivening our Market community over so many years.

Read more on Jeanne and her legacy in this Seattle Times story by columnist Danny Westneat.