Jeanne Marie Dunning passed peacefully on November 28, 2021 at her home of 71 years in Ellensburg, Washington. She was born at home to Paul Eugene Nelson and Dorothy Ruth Nelson in Roslyn, Washington on June 10th, 1929. Two months later, the family moved to Ellensburg where her father was a teacher, coach and cattleman and her mother worked as a secretary at Ellensburg Normal School, now CWU.
Being an only child, Jeanne made up for a lack of siblings by being a person who treasured friendships. She and her friends ice-skated, played paper dolls dressing them with clothing cut out of catalogs, and played games such as Kick The Can and Red Rover. She loved riding one of Henry Schnebly’s horses named “Scooter”, and, for several summers, she and her mother stayed for a week at the top of the Colockum or up Parke Creek at “The Pines” while her father helped Henry with his cattle.
She was still in high school when she met Lorne T. “Bud” Dunning at Webster’s café. She was already planning on attending Washington State College (now WSU) when he decided to finish his schooling at the same school. She received the first AA degree ever given by the college. They married August 17, 1949, and a year later they bought their home on 40 acres. They built additions to the house six times to accommodate their growing family.
Jeanne was an amazing wife and mother. She sewed clothing for her six children and was an excellent cook. She and her friend, Bev German, were leaders of the Flying Fingers 4-H club for many years. They taught a younger generation of Fairview District females cooking and sewing, took them on campouts, drove them to judging competitions, organized community service activities, and encouraged the young women to do their best in all activities.
She was an active member of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Arvida Club, the Junior Scholarship Luncheon Club and was President of the Kittitas County Cowbelles (now the Kittitas County Cattlewomen’s Association). She loved the women of her “Tuesday Group” who supported each other through prayer for many years.
Jeanne will be most remembered for generosity, grace and humility. She was an optimist; she overcame many life challenges with a positive attitude. She grew up hearing some of her father’s favorite mottos: “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins”. And, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. When asked how she managed to be grateful despite difficulties, she responded, “Well, I don’t like to complain. And what do I have to complain about? I’m well cared for.”
She was supportive of her husband and respected him, resulting in the children holding their father in high esteem. They had a marriage of mutual love and respect. She seemed not to need or desire recognition for accomplishments. She helped take care of family members through illnesses and death and was an endearing spirit to many.
Jeanne is survived by her son, Jeffrey Lorne Dunning, her four daughters, Paula (Don) Mays, Teresa (Jack) Buchanan, Maureen (Gary McCullough) Grant, and Melinda (Allan Charlton) Dunning. She’s also survived by 17 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and her daughter, Kathleen Anne “Katie” Hobbs.
The family wishes to thank her loyal and compassionate caregivers.
Viewing for family and friends will be from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021 at Johnston & Williams Funeral Home in Ellensburg. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 4 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Ellensburg with burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Jeanne and her family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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