Lillian Unser Baumgartner

07/29/1929 — 02/15/2023

From Richland, WA | Born in Strasburg, ND

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Lillian Unser Baumgartner


Lillian Unser Baumgartner, age 93, passed away on February 15, 2023. She was born to John and Mary (Nicolas) Unser in Strasburg, North Dakota, on July 29, 1929.

Lillian was Valedictorian of her high school class in 1947 but was denied a full scholarship to attend college (which was awarded only to men in previous and later years).  She attended a business program to learn administrative skills. She worked for insurance companies in Seattle and Fargo, ND. She married her childhood friend (and love of her life), William (Bill) Baumgartner, during his senior year at Seattle University.

Lillian and Bill moved to Richland in 1951 for Bill to work at the Hanford Project. Lillian worked at a local bank and the Hanford Project in Richland until she became pregnant with her first child in 1953 and was terminated from her job, as was common in those days.  Lillian flourished as a stay-at-home mother, raising four children and supporting their efforts at raising their families as a generous grandmother and great-grandmother. Bill and Lillian were happily married for over 67 years when Bill passed away in 2018.

Both Lillian and Bill were active members of Christ the King Catholic Church and worked tirelessly to support all aspects of the Church’s mission: YLI, food drives, development and growth of the school, a new church building, and aid to other parishes in the Yakima Diocese.

When Lillian and Bill’s third child (Patricia) was born with severe mental and physical health impairments, Lillian devoted many years to serving on various commissions and councils for the State of Washington to improve conditions for persons with disabilities.

Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and granddaughter, Laura Wright. She was the last remaining member of her generation, as her brother(John) and sister (Helen) and Bill’s brother (Herman) and sister (Bernice) and all their spouses had passed away in recent years.

Lillian is survived by her son William (Saunie), daughters Karen Wright (Kelly), Patricia, and Gerilyn (Geri) Nickels (Joe), grandchildren [Ellison, Pele, Maureen (Christian), Annie (Adam), John, and Natalie], great-grandchildren [Henri, Elizabeth (Beth) , Lillian (Lilly), and William (Liam)], and many nieces and nephews.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be at 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland, Washington, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at noon officiated by Msgr. Thomas C. Champoux. A reception in the Gathering Space will follow the Mass. The family has planned a private interment.

Lillian will be greatly missed, especially for her love, thoughtfulness, caring, and wise counsel. If desired, the family requests donations to be sent to Catholic Charities in lieu of flowers.

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Lillian Unser Baumgartner

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  • I enjoyed knowing Lillian as both a friendly neighbor and my landlord. I wish her family comfort in their memories of her.

    Shelly Campbell
    February 28, 2023
    Richland, WA
  • May your family find peace in knowing your mom, grandmother, and all of the rest of your family that Lillian is with her heavenly Father. From one long time family of Richland to another, from The Boolens.

    Susan (Boolen) Middlemas
    February 22, 2023
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