Donna Jean Muncey
Donna Jean Muncey, Jeanne to her friends, who is beloved mom to Larry Hutchins and his wife Marian, Dan Hutchins and his wife Patty, Diana Stadden, Julie Bullard and her husband Mark, & Tony Beldin, went to be with her Lord on February 25, 2019. She leaves behind an “acquired” son, Moe Adli, and a multitude of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Her older brothers, Harold Brown, Lou Brown, and Charlie Brown as well as sisters Pearl Ullrich, Alberta Milliken and Wanda Moore have preceded her in death. She is survived by her sisters Bonnie Simmons and Ruth Biddinger.
Some of these younger generation called her Grandma Monkey (couldn’t say Muncey when they were little) or the youngest ones affectionately called her Bumblebee because she had a bumblebee puppet she would use to recite “Bumblebee, bumblebee, behind the barn sack of honey under his arm goes bzzzzzzzz!” as she tickled them.
She grew up in Seattle, the second to the youngest of nine children. Her own mother had a severe fall and passed away when Jeanne was only 14 years old. Her father, who was a railroad worker and then a police officer at the University of Washington, raised the children on his own.
She was a very independent person, doing things that made her happy, even if they weren’t the norm. She had a friend who raised monkeys during the late 60's and so she acquired a squirrel monkey of her own for a while. She spent years working with people who had developmental disabilities, helping them enjoy fun activities and crafts. She always had lots of craft supplies on hand. For years she worked with an organization called DARE, running a Bingo hall that raised money to fund these endeavors.
She spent her later working years as a care provider helping elderly individuals be able to spend their last years in their own home. As she did for others, her children did for her, making sure she never went to a nursing home as she aged and needed more care.
She lived independently for many years in a mobile home next to her daughter Julie. Her sons Larry and Dan built a rockery and fish pond for her and she loved to sit by the pond on nice days. Her sister Wanda lived with her there for about 5 years until macular degeneration took Jeanne’s sight and Wanda’s dementia started making her so forgetful that it wasn’t safe for them to live alone anymore. She helped get Wanda into a memory care facility but was terrified of having to leave her home and go to a nursing home. When it was clear she needed help on a daily basis, she chose to spend the last 6 years of her life living with her son Dan and his family in the Bellingham, WA area. She could not have asked for better care and loved living there.
She spent many years writing to pen pals all around the world and collected stamps from them for her daughters’ stamp collections. She developed an avid interest in genealogy and did extensive work on her family’s background, going back several generations. Reading books, especially western stories, murder mysteries and Christian novels based on characters in the bible was very important to her.
As macular degeneration took her eyesight, she had to let go of doing many of the things that brought her such joy. When she no longer could read, she found talking books through which she could still enjoy her stories. She loved visiting with her grown children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren whether in-person or on the phone.
Some of her favorite flowers were Rhododendrons, Roses, Lilacs, and delphinium. She collected music boxes, Hummel figurines, and angels which filled up lots of shelves and bookcases in her home.
She used to love driving and took many trips around the country visiting family and friends, meeting many new family members through her genealogy research. She loved Mount Rainier, calling it “her mountain”, which she visited often when her daughter Diana lived outside the Mount Rainier park entrance. She even organized one of the big family reunions she liked to plan to take place on her mountain.
As everyone does, Jeanne aged and found it harder to get around. Just before Thanksgiving in 2018 she fell while trying to get dressed and fractured her shoulder. She was taken to the emergency room where she was given morphine for the pain. Unfortunately, the problem she had with swallowing caused her to aspirate some of the medicine into her lungs. This caused her respiratory and renal systems to shut down. She was on life support for several days, but when they finally took her off the ventilator, she thankfully was able to breathe on her own again and her kidneys had started working again.
As she began to improve, the hospital talked of sending her long-term to a skilled nursing facility, but her children did not want her there and she wanted to be home. At that point a hospice team talked with Dan and Diana and explained that the damage done by the morphine could not be reversed, that they expected her to have less than 6 months to live. They offered hospice services so that Jeanne could be made as comfortable as possible at home for whatever time was left. Her children were devastated but wanted her to be at home.
January 2nd was her 87th birthday and the family threw her a big party for what would be her last birthday on earth. Jeanne constantly praised Dan for the wonderful care he gave her, especially because she no longer could sit or stand and she could not eat solid food as her swallowing problem had worsened. She began sleeping for longer and longer periods. On February 24th she had a short period of wakefulness and was able to talk to her children on the phone and at 4:20 am on February 25th, Diana held her hand as she breathed her last breath. Jeanne is now with her Father in heaven and is joyfully singing with the angels!