Amanda “Mandee” Carolyn Kulaga Parker

July 15, 1987 - August 9, 2023

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi

To know Mandee was to know pure, undistilled love and joy and light personified. She would often say that she was bursting with love, and it always seemed like she was literally unable to contain the sheer scale of her adoration and admiration of the people and things close to her. She was a voracious patron of the arts and nature, a consummate storyteller, a passionate actor and musician, and a fearless adventurer. She had a knack for finding the coziest of spaces, usually with tea and a book in hand. She finished two marathons and hiked up countless mountains. Her style and wit were impeccable. Her energy and her beauty were radiant and elegant, and her unrelenting and exuberant optimism, humor, and inner strength infected everyone she ever met, permanently altering our existence by teaching us how to live exquisitely. She was really, really cool.

At the end of a heroic battle against breast cancer, Mandee died peacefully on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at the age of 36 in the loving arms of her devoted husband and partner, Josh. She spent her final days resting comfortably under her favorite tree, surrounded by dear friends and family.

Mandee was born on July 15, 1987 to her adoring parents Diana and Jim Kulaga in Houston, Texas. She was raised in Peachtree City, Georgia and attended Starr’s Mill High School before moving to New York City to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She graduated in 2009, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors, double majoring in Theater and English and American Literature. She was a proud member of the Atlantic Theater Company and the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

After a few years of an exciting life in New York working various challenging yet often amusing jobs, she spent a year living abroad in Athens, Greece, teaching English and going on endless fun adventures. In 2012, Mandee then moved to Washington, DC to attend graduate school at George Washington University after realizing that a career in speech language pathology would perfectly combine her language and acting expertise. She earned a Master of Arts degree in 2015, also with honors, and her published research explored the use of music to improve the ability of children with autism to communicate.

Later in 2015, Mandee and Josh moved to Seattle, Washington, where she quickly built a reputation as a highly compassionate and skilled practitioner, developing a speciality in treating voice-related disorders and conditions. She had just recently landed her dream job at the prestigious Voice and Swallowing Center at Virginia Mason Hospital Center in Seattle when the effects of her disease and treatment forced her to step away.

Mandee and Josh had a story book, true love kind of story. They met as teenagers and kept up a close friendship despite never living in the same place, all the while something more simmering under the surface. They finally started dating in 2010 and got engaged in the fall of 2012 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. They were married at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Virginia on November 9, 2013. They created a beautiful life together, first in Washington, DC, and then in Seattle, where they bought their first home, went on countless dates, and started a family. The day before she died, Mandee and Josh renewed their vows to each other in a small, poignant ceremony at home.

Mandee gave birth to a happy and healthy daughter, Sophie, in October 2021, just eight weeks before receiving her diagnosis. She was an affectionate, nurturing mother who loved Sophie ferociously and taught her an incredible amount in the time they had together. Sophie already embodies her mom’s love of books, music, and being outside, and the presence of Mandee’s spirit is unmistakable in the twinkle of Sophie’s eyes and the gentleness of her soul.

Mandee is survived by her daughter, Sophie; husband, Josh; parents, Jim and Diana Kulaga; cousins Lauren Haertlein (Joel), Lauren Mastbaum (Andy), Charlie Bottita (Mary), and Michael and Ann Marie Bottita; aunts and uncles Carolyn and Jeff Haertlein and Connie and Ron Cuoco; mother-in-law, Diana Parker; father-in-law, Harlin Parker; sisters-in-law Rachel and Kate Vila Parker; and two beloved dogs, Mackay and Hailey. Throughout her life, Mandee’s unfailingly kind and irresistibly brilliant and genuine nature earned her many close friends who consider her to be among the best many of them have ever had, and they will also carry on her memory.

Mandee was never more at home or at peace than when she was among the trees. Hiking up a mountain, walking through a forest, cruising on a boat through the Amazon jungle, or sitting beneath the cottonwood on the family property in Idaho – if there were trees, Mandee belonged. So it comes as little surprise that she wished for her remains to be gently transformed into nutrient-rich soil that will be used to plant and nurture a whole bunch of trees. We hope that her loved ones might one day rest under her shade and take a peaceful moment to remember the sound of her effervescent laugh.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our growing community working to bring human composting to the world.

About Recompose

Recompose is a licensed, full-service, green funeral home in Seattle offering human composting. As the first human composting company in the world, we are a trusted leader in ecological death care. We are Seattle’s only human composting provider and serve clients across the U.S.

Recompose Seattle
4 S. Idaho St, Seattle, WA 98134
Open by appointment


Voted Best Funeral Home in Seattle Times’ Best in the PNW Contest 2023



Land Acknowledgement
Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe. Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.