“Sunny Point” on Stuart Island | Staff Photo
In 1974, Molly Ciliberti and her husband, Jack, met in a waiting room of a Seattle-area hospital, where she worked as a nurse and he as a doctor. Despite the unromantic setting, they clicked and were married in 1982. The couple went on many sailing trips, often north as far as Southeast Alaska. Their favorite jumping-off point for these journeys was Reid Harbor, on Stuart Island.
Their fondness for Reid Harbor eventually led them to look for property in the area. On a boat tour with a real estate agent in 1988, they rounded the southeast tip of Stuart Island and the agent said, “There’s a sunny point just ahead that you might like.”
Indeed they did. Jack said, “When I think of the San Juan Islands, this is exactly what comes to mind.” They eventually purchased 7.7 acres, including 1,400 feet of rocky, meadow-rimmed shoreline. It became a beloved family retreat, which they called Sunny Point.
Tragically, Jack was killed in an airplane accident in 2014. A few years later, Molly was diagnosed with a brain tumor, then suffered a debilitating fall. In spite of it all, she retains an amazingly sunny outlook, backed up by a deep love of nature.
“It was always our intention to never let Sunny Point be developed,” she said. Last year, she ensured its permanent protection by donating a conservation easement on the property to the Preservation Trust, in Jack’s memory.
“Preserving this beautiful place gives me such delight and pleasure,” she said. “As a nurse, I saved many peoples’ lives, but this is the best thing I’ve ever done. And I know Jack would be thrilled.”