Birdena E. (Padgham) Lange, 93, of Sunnyside passed away Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

She was born May 3, 1919 in Sunnyside at the family farm on Allen Road to Charles and Gertrude Padgham. She was the sixth daughter born in a family of nine children.

She attended Washington School, the country school on Factory Road from first to sixth grade and graduated from Sunnyside High School.

At an early age, she became a lifetime member of the Grace Brethren Church, where she sang in the choir and was a member of a women's quartet and helped direct the children's Christmas choir.

In younger years, she would create a scary Halloween party for all the kids at grandma's house. Many of us remember those.

Her Scottish heritage made her a strong, independent woman and she was a no-nonsense gal. She had a great sense of humor and was an avid shopper. Her most favorite breakfast to get the day started was a big bowl of home cooked oatmeal with raisins topped with real cream.

During WWII, she was employed by the Army Corps of Engineers and worked in Anchorage, Alaska. She later attended Kinman Business School and returned to Sunnyside as office manager for Potlatch Lumber Yard for several years.

Birdena began working for Pacific Fruit Produce in Yakima, where she met the love of her life. Curt Lange and Birdena married and were soon transferred to Bellevue. He passed away from a sudden heart attact while enjoying a game of golf. Birdena remained in Bellevue and spent many years encouraging the 'kiddos' as secretary at Bellevue Christian School.

She retuned to Yakima enjoying a busy, fulfilling retirement traveling, gardening, buying a knitting machine and taking classes to learn to make her own clothes. Many of the nieces and nephews were recipients of auntie's homemade teddy bears.

Her siblings, nieces and nephews were her family. She was a very active presence in their lives through her grand generosity, support and influence. Modeling her strong family values, she made weekly trips to Sunnyside to help an older sister; she picked the berries, mowed the lawn, drove her to appointments all with efficiency and dedication.

Sadly, she broke her hip while living in Yakima. After spending several months in the nursing home in Yakima, the family moved her back to Sunnyside. She resided at Hillcrest Manor Nursing Home for eight years. At times, she didn't appreciate the therapy routine. Being outspoken, the nurses and others in her life, always knew exactly how she felt.

We believe she lived a fulfilling life and many of the family were rewarded with her selflessness. We only hope she knew that we appreciated it all.

She is survived by her sister, Pauline; brother, David (Margaret); many nieces and nephews; and brother-in-law, Edward (Priceilla) Lange and family members in Seattle.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Curtis Lange; parents, Charles and Gertrude Padgham; brothers, Kester and Paul; and sisters, Zada, Roberta, Rowena and Roxine.

Memorial services will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2012, at 10 a.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside.

Smith Funeral Home Ltd and Crematory in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.


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