Colleen R. Feeney-Griffith, 69, of Ellensburg, passed away at her home on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 surrounded by her loving family. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg with an urn committal service to follow at the IOOF Cemetery. In person attendance will be limited to immediate family, however the public is invited to watch a livestream of the service at www.johnston-williams.com and attend an Open House Celebration of Colleen’s Life at the Griffith home at 2:00 p.m.
Colleen was born on April 8, 1952 in Seattle, Washington, the fourth of nine children born to Raymond and Marcella (Huber) Feeney. She was raised in the Seattle/Issaquah area and graduated from Issaquah High School in 1970. Following graduation, she attended Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, earning her bachelor’s degree in education in 1974. She continued her education at the University of Washington before transferring to Western Washington University where she earned her master’s degree in early childhood education, curriculum and instruction.
The night before the 1970 Apple Cup, Colleen met Chris Griffith at a college social function. As he describes it, Colleen had a “bright smile, big eyes and I fell for her instantly.” They had a whirlwind courtship and married on June 12, 1971 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Issaquah. Following their marriage, the young couple moved around Washington for a bit before making Lake Stevens their home.
To say that Colleen was simply “a teacher” would be a disservice to her vast and influential career in early childhood education. She developed and taught many of the courses relating to childcare standards in the state of Washington and, for many years, directed annual conferences for hundreds of educators. In all her years as a professional educator, Colleen’s favorite times were when she owned and operated the Sunshine Hill Children’s Center in Lake Stevens. She was also a mentor to many educators over the years and took great joy in “teaching others how to teach”. After moving to Ellensburg in 2004, Colleen finished her career at Central Washington University’s Early Childhood Learning Center.
Colleen enjoyed gardening, spinning wool and quilting - she was always busy with something! She worked side by side with Chris and her children on many home and garden projects and always had to be moving. She was an excellent cook and will be remembered fondly by her family for her chicken and rice casserole, zucchini alfredo and her chili.
Colleen was a member of many professional organizations during her career including the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the state and local affiliates for Washington and Snohomish County (WAEYC and SCAEYC), and the Kittitas County Early Learning Coalition (KCELC). She was also an active volunteer with Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity, the Children of Chernobyl program as well as the Kittitas County Early Learning Coalition.
Colleen is survived by her husband, Chris, at the family home in Ellensburg; daughter Adrienne and son-in-law JD Zimny of Ellensburg and son Alec and daughter-in-law Lisa Griffith of Seattle; grandchildren Tabitha, Nicholas, Zachary Zimny, and Dylan and Hudson Griffith as well as siblings Brian, Kathleen, Eileen, Arleen, Pauline, Sean and Frank. She was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Marcella (Huber) Feeney and her sister Maureen.
Memorial contributions in Colleen’s honor are suggested to the Kittitas County Early Learning Coalition, PO Box 112, Ellensburg, WA 98926.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Colleen’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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