Mary M. Raekes

07/02/1935 — 11/24/2023

From Kennewick, WA | Born in Ross, ND

Mary M. Raekes

Mary Raekes was a saint among us. She passed away at home on November 24, 2023, surrounded by loved ones. She was born Mary Madaline Bruns in Ross, ND to John and Madaline Bruns on July 2, 1935 and was one of eight children who grew up on a farm in rural Hannaford, ND.

Mary was the kindest soul, who was also a quiet intellect and deeply humble. After graduating as valedictorian from Hannaford High School, she headed west with a girlfriend to start her adult life. She met her future husband, Phil, while working at a bank in Spokane, WA. He was attending law school in the evening and working during the day for the same bank, but at a different branch. She was scheduled to Phil’s branch one day and he asked to drive her home after work. Fortunately, she said yes, and the rest of the story is an abundant life of family, friends, giving, and kindness.

Mary and Phil raised five children, four of whom are a year apart! She was a nurturing, generous, and loving mom – her children feel they won the “mom lottery.” She also was the wind beneath her husband’s wings and a strong, supportive wife during their 64 years of marriage. Her family was her vocation, but Mary also volunteered for over twenty years at the Tri-Cities Food Bank, was an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, participated in numerous committees, and freely donated her time and money to several different charities.

Mary loved the annual family vacations to the Oregon Coast, especially looking for agates and playing cards with her grandchildren. She also loved making memories at Badger Lake, boating on the Columbia River, and hosting Fourth of July and Boat Race parties for family and friends.

Mary’s grandchildren were some of her greatest joys; she absolutely lit up and the smile never left her face when she was with them. Mary also loved just sitting at her kitchen counter, laughing and listening. Her thoughtful, attentive style served as a wonderful role model for multiple generations of the family.

As much as Mary loved her children and grandchildren, she was also fond of being a snowbird in Arizona or Palm Springs, spending time with Phil, her sister, Audrey and brother-in-law, Jim. She was always thinking of others and loved strolling with Audrey into cute little shops to find the perfect gifts. She loved chocolates, vanilla ice cream, and the holidays, especially Christmas. Her sugar cookies were the best in the world! She also enjoyed trips to the casino, toasting someone with a glass of white wine, and giggling with an occasional Bloody Mary.

When in Mary’s presence, you felt heard, seen, valued, and loved. She cared more about others than herself, even in her final days. She was a lady, in the truest sense of the word. Mary’s legacy is one of pure love and her death is a profound loss to her family and friends.

Mary is survived by her husband Phil, five children – Michael Raekes of Seattle, WA, Diane Roe (Tom) of Kirkland, WA, John Raekes (Judy) of Kennewick, WA, Julie Raekes (Scott) of Richland, WA and Amy Cleary (Joe) of Spokane, WA, eleven grandchildren – Blake (Ashlee), Tanner (Matti), Caitlin (Kurt), Johnny, Philip, Brendan, Ellie, David, Thomas, Liam and Mary Madaline, and four great grandchildren – Capri, Carter, Brody and Beckham. She is also survived by her siblings, Audrey Haugen, Duane Bruns and Robert (Dolly) Bruns, and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, sister Lorraine Amundson and brothers John, Gerald and Raymond Bruns.  A private inurnment for the family will be held on December 8th, and a Celebration of Life will be held in the spring (date to be determined) in 2024. In her legacy, spread kindness, listen, and help others. If inclined, donations to the Tri-Cities Food Bank, Saint Vincent DePaul or organizations that support those with any form of dementia are appreciated, including

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Mary M. Raekes

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  • MARY M. RAEKES, Dear Lady after reading all of your heartfelt words from those that knew and loved you I can understand why….
    Not personally knowing you but having the opportunity to be blessed with the presence of your daughter Diane Roe she magnifies the words stated throughout your guestbook. She has been a true blessing for my mother who is a stroke survivor. Every time she and her beautiful family is in our presence I can definitely see and feel the love from you being passed down to us…. Blessings to your family with our humble condolences as they all deal with such a precious loss…
    Your mother was a rare and beautiful soul, and we are truly grateful and blessed by the wonderful daughter she raised. After the sad prayers have been said and the comforting words have been spoken, Ms. Dee Dee my mother and I want you and your entire family to know that we are here to listen, cry and or just to be a dear friend!! BLESSINGS FROM OUR HEARTS TO YOUR HEART ❤️

    Dewish Taitague and Tina Green
    December 12, 2023
    Kent Washington and Bulverde, Texas
  • Always a pleasure to see Mary and Phil in Church – regular attendees, fixtures in our parish. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and you family. You will all be remembered in my personal Advent services. Deacon Bill

    Deacon Bill Mich
    December 5, 2023
  • I’m so sorry to hear of Mary’s passing. She was well loved by many and always had a beaming smile when we met. I got to know Mary at St. Joseph’s. We would have fun stuffing envelopes or whatever needed to be done. We had many great conversations over those hours. We all know she is now in heaven and still smiling at us.

    December 4, 2023
  • It is hard to put into words the impression Mary had on me at a young age. She and Phil were my parents closest friends (Rem and Patty Ryals) and let’s just say, they knew how to live it up and celebrate life! Sometimes in that chaos, a child could feel lost. Mary was always a calm and focused presence and sometimes, even without her saying anything, I felt safer and happier with her there. She was loved deeply by my parents – who loved to tell me the story of how she met “bachelor” Phil, and loved as well by me and all my siblings. There is no greater legacy than that of grace and selflessness and Mary was a shining example of both my whole life. The love of the Ryals family goes out to Uncle Phil and the whole Raekes family. We are with you.

    Kathleen Ryals
    December 2, 2023
    San Francisco
  • I’m so sorry for your loss. Mary seemed like an amazing mother and grandmother. Her legacy lives on through her wonderful family.

    Rayner aattisha
    December 2, 2023
    Mercer Island
  • Aunt Mary always showed a welcoming and loving heart and will miss her . Deepest condolences and love to Uncle Phil and the rest of the family.

    Greg Bruns
    December 2, 2023
    Woodinville, WA
  • Sorry for the loss of your well loved mom, wife and grandmother

    Critchlow Sandra
    December 2, 2023
  • Our thoughts and prayers for your family during your loss are with you. May your mom rest in peace.

    Tim and Maryalice Fontaine
    December 2, 2023
  • My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Aunt Mary will be greatly missed.

    Mary Bruns Pyfferoen
    December 2, 2023
    Rochester, MN
  • So sorry for your loss Phil, my wife and I really enjoyed working with Mary at the food Bank for many years, her humor and ability to make others feel better and bring smiles was uncanny.

    December 1, 2023
  • Sorry for your loss uncle Phil. Mary was a wonderful aunt.

    Debra Ruona
    November 30, 2023
    Fargo, ND
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