Mary Jane Cunningham

April 22, 1922 – July 9, 2018

Born in Seattle, Wa. 4/22/22 to Alevia and Raymond Benham. She had one brother, Dick Benham, deceased. She is survived by all five children, Gordon Cunningham, Lynn Ciselski, Jane Cunningham, Ralston Cunningham, and Allan Cunningham. She had ten grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.

Benji, her nickname from childhood, grew up in Seattle. Benji loved the outdoors, hiking, and camping. She joined The Mountaineers climbing organization, and climbed many of the Cascade peaks, including Rainier, Adams, Glacier, and St. Helen’s. Her fellow Mountaneers started REI and Benji’s membership number is only two digits.

Working from a young age, she also became a Campfire Girls counselor as a teenager, and in the course of that job met William (Bill) Cunningham, deceased, the Sea Scouts skipper assigned to transport the Campfire Girls on a Puget Sound excursion. Benji and Bill fell in love sailing the Salish Sea. WW 2 broke their reverie when Bill went to the Pacific in the Navy. Benji went to California to attend San Jose State College. When the war ended they got married and moved to Pullman, Wa. where Bill finished college at Wa. State. They then moved to Bellevue, Wa and started raising their family. Benji and Bill settled on Bainbridge Island, where they found a community of kindred spirits, attended Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, and lived out their lives among family and friends.

Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, 105 Winslow way, Bainbridge. Service at 1pm September 15, Saturday

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