Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Marian Dee Bushnell

June 9, 1931 – Aug. 24, 2021


September 2, 2021

Marian Dee Bushnell, longtime St John resident, passed away on August 24, 2021. She was surrounded by the love and presence of her family at the time of her death. She was 90.

Marian was born on June 9, 1931, at Gritman Memorial Hospital in Moscow, Idaho. Her parents were living in Genesee, Idaho, where her father was the superintendent of schools. She was the second child born to William "Dixie" and Francis (Nelson) Riddle. Her older brother died in childbirth. Soon after she was born, they moved to Creston, WA, where her father had taken a job as the superintendent. They lived in Creston the next few years where her two younger brothers and sister were born and she finished first grade. Her family moved to Deer Park in 1937 where they had purchased a farm and began a dairy cattle operation. She attended school in Deer Park through the 7th grade when her family sold the Deer Park farm and bought the farm on Peone Prairie. She attended Mead school from 8th grade through high school graduation in June, 1949, attending Whitworth College for a short time prior to her marriage.

Mom met her future husband, Dale Bushnell, when they were living in Deer Park. They attended the same Grange and rode the same school bus. Mom said she had a crush on Dad from the start. She was 15 when they went on their first date (2-14-47) and she asked him to the Valentine dance! They married on December 25, 1949. Their life together started on Peone Prairie in the farming operation, moving to St John in May of 1951 where Dad had a job as a lineman for Inland Power and Light. Mom and Dad spent the rest of their lives living in St John. They were married for 68 years.

She was mother to four children. She took her job as wife and mother seriously, caring for us all, keeping house, doing laundry, hanging clothes on the line, making lunches and meals at night when we sat as a family together. She was a wonderful helpmate to dad. She was active in church, Grange and involved in her children's school activities. She was a seamstress, artist, excellent cook and baker and kept a beautiful, immaculate yard. She was a whiz at decorating her house and yard for the holidays. Mom said, "The only thing I ever wanted to be was a wife and mother." She excelled at both of those. She had a great love for all of her family including all extended family. She grew up within a 5-mile radius of many of her extended family –aunts, uncles and cousins – she kept in close touch with them, also keeping tabs on all their children. She and dad spent their retirement years doing odd jobs around their home, traveling and visiting family, hosting family gatherings, going "gaming" at any casino nearby and spending time remodeling, cutting wood and enjoying their cabin on the Pend O'Reille river.

She is survived by her children, Callie (Randy) Moore, Carrie Colyar, Candy (Richard) Behrens and Bruce Bushnell; nine grandchildren, Bob Moore, Cassie Baker and Brady Moore, Kale Colyar, Kobi Winans and Kim Colyar, Zach and Spenser Behrens; and 19 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Dixie (Mary) Riddle, her sister Lois (Bob) Banta, her sister-in-laws Diane Riddle, Edith Bushnell and Jennie Bushnell, and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her husband Dale and her brother Lowell Riddle.

Mom will be buried in the St John cemetery next to Dad. Services will be held in St John and due to Covid it will be private. Memorials can be made in her name to the St John Methodist Church or the St John Fire Department.


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