Elverna Marie Bennett, née Amundsen, passed from this life on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, following a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. She was 86 years old.

She was born Aug. 1, 1924 in the home of her paternal grandparents in Swan's Trail, Snohomish County. Elverna (Vernie) was the only surviving child of Wilfred Carl and Ingrid Henrietta Amundsen.

Fiercely proud of her pure Norwegian heritage, she grew up cherished and adored by her seven paternal uncles, grandparents, and the Norwegian immigrant community. When a young girl her happy outlook and playful personality earned her the nickname "Sunshine." Her childhood and early education took place in Everett and Coupeville (in a one-room schoolhouse). At age 13 her family moved to Olympia.

She graduated from Olympia High School in 1942.

May 17, 1942 was life-changing for Elverna. It was a joint installation for the Masonic youth organizations Rainbow Girls and Order of the DeMolay. Elverna was to become Worthy Advisor (Rainbow) and a young man named Don Bennett was to be the new Master Councilor (DeMolay). While preparing the hall for the evening's ceremonies, dressed as she recalled in just grubby work clothes, the two met for the first time. Later that day, she told her mother about the meeting and said, "Something tells me, I'm going to see a lot of that boy." They were married Sept. 29, 1946 after both acquired their B.A. at the College of Puget Sound.

While at CPS, Elverna was president of her sorority and in 1944 and 1945 she served as national president of Spurs, a collegiate service club.

Following their wedding, Don and Elverna settled in several small-market towns in Washington state as he pursued his career in broadcasting. They also started their family, eventually having three sons and a daughter. In 1953, Don moved to Sunnyside to become manager (and eventual owner) of KREW Radio; Elverna followed several months later after seeing to the sale of their previous home. From 1953 to 2007, Sunnyside was home.

Elverna became a member of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, a charter member of the Sunnyside nouvella Club, and member and past president of Chapter EX, PEO. She also belonged to several bridge groups.

Elverna worked outside the home as school secretary at Washington Elementary and Sunnyside Junior High School in the 1960's and as copywriter at KREW.

The last three years of her life, Elverna resided in a dementia-care facility in Mount Vernon.

She is survived by her sons, Bill (W.D.) of Scottsdale, Ariz., Lawrence of Sunnyside and Gary of Pleasanton, Calif.; as well as her daughter, Teresa of Stanwood. Elverna and Don have six grandchildren, Rachel, Erin, Lindsey, Jenny, Katie and Tom.

Elverna was preceded in death by Don, her husband of nearly 60 years, in 2006.

She was the heart of her family and will be missed always.

To honor her memory, please consider the Alzheimer's Association.

A private ceremony for the interment of her ashes will be held by the family.


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