Margaret “Marnee” Bleeg Smull

03/18/1952 — 06/16/2024

Margaret “Marnee” Bleeg Smull

Marnee Smull passed away on June 16 at her home in Richland, Washington surrounded by her family, less than three weeks after being diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Marnee was born in 1952 in Portland, Oregon. She was the eldest of Charles H. and Virginia Sharkey Bleeg’s seven children. Marnee had an idyllic childhood in northeast Portland where she ruled the roost and attended The Madeleine grade school and Holy Child Academy. She graduated from Oregon State University in 1975 with a degree in Resource Recreation Management.

During her high school and college summers, she followed her love of horses to Joseph, Oregon to work at her cousin’s guide/outfitter post, and then to Boardman, Oregon to work on his farm. It was there that she met her true love and life partner, Rick Smull, at the Eastern Oregon Farming Company. Back then, Marnee was known for her ability to drive perfectly straight lines in all the farming operations without any landmarks on the horizon — a metaphor for how she navigated life. She cut her own trail and was a straight shooter.

Marnee and Rick married in November 1980 and lived first in Hermiston, Oregon, where they brought three sons, Paul, Carl, and Eric, into the world. They raised their boys in Irrigon, Oregon, and most recently moved to Richland to be closer to their sons and their families.

Throughout her career, Marnee worked in the alfalfa and land prep departments at Eastern Oregon; in accounting at Western Empire; in the lab at Logan International; and as the “irrigation chick” at Eagle Ranch, all the while volunteering in her kids’ schools. In retirement, she enjoyed travelling (especially to Hawaii) and spending time with Rick and their kids and grandkids. Upon receiving her devastating diagnosis, she burst into a flurry of activity to get her affairs in order and make her exit from this world easier on her family. Marnee was practical to the core. She handled her impending death with grace and humor.

Always gregarious, Marnee was also content being alone. She had a book-a-day reading habit and loved research. Both book smart and street smart, she could converse about any subject: current affairs, family history, and (her specialty) obscure facts and oddities. She was a confident woman who didn’t sweat the small stuff, and her wisdom made her a trusted adviser on life. She remained quick-witted and irreverent to the end. She was proud of her three boys and cherished her grandchildren.

Marnee is survived by her husband, Rick Smull; her sons and daughters-in-love Paul Smull (Marci), Carl Smull (Amy), and Eric Smull (Jamie); her grandchildren Georgia, Brock, Chloe, and Emily; her siblings Joan Bleeg, Ann Welch, Susan Bleeg, Chuck Bleeg, Paul Bleeg, and Sarah Morris; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Marnee will be laid to rest at Sunset Gardens in Richland, Washington — a spot she picked out on the drive home after receiving her diagnosis.

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Margaret “Marnee” Bleeg Smull

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  • Sending our sincere condolences, prayers, thoughts, and love to you all.
    We will have a Mass said for her.
    We have many fond memories of Irrigon school days, ball games, and memories of religious education for you boys with the girls!
    God bring you all peace and strength during this most difficult time.

    The Mike McNamee Family
    July 6, 2024
  • love u my friend had a lot of laughs in the salon all of you have been like family will miss u deeply

    Deanna D Ashcraft
    July 5, 2024
  • love you my friend had a lot of laughs in the salon .All of you have been like family will miss u deeply

    Deanna D Ashcraft
    July 5, 2024
  • I was sorry to learn of the passing of Margaret, my grade school classmate at Madeleine. Although we weren’t close friends I always felt a connection to her thanks to our Dads’ friendship. I’m happy to read about her life and how she lived it. She sounds like she found joy and passion in her work and her personal life. So happy she lived to see grandchildren. I admire her courage and am impressed with how she chose her “final resting place” on the way home from the doctor. That took nerve! May all the siblings share some good memories and laughs as you mourn the loss of your sister.

    Dana Jacobs
    June 30, 2024
    Portland, OR
  • Rick and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Marnee was a great neighbor and we still miss you guys in the neighborhood! Our thoughts are with you all.

    Dick and Linda Cole
    June 25, 2024
    Irrigon, Oregon
  • To the Smull Family, As a high school classmate at Holy Child, Marnee was always kind and positive along with her beautiful smile. She is now an angel along with our other classmates.
    My deepest sympathies for your loss.

    Anne Stupfel Fernando
    June 24, 2024
    Lake Oswego, Oregon
  • Hi Rick, So sorry to hear about Marnee. She was a kick and I always enjoyed talking with her, whether it was work related or over a lunch talking about a book. She was truly a good person. Take care.

    Jeff Ware

    Jeff Ware
    June 24, 2024
    Portland, OR
  • I worked with Marnee at Eagle Ranch in Echo Oregon. I loved working with her, she had such a mind that could be very serious and very meticulous even though she was constantly interrupted with phone calls or someone needing something. We shared laughing and many other stories about life. She was amazing in her thought process of creating Excel spreadsheets…I have never seen a spreadsheet formula as long as the ones she created…what a mind!

    Jeanette Jacques
    June 23, 2024
    Stanfield, Oregon
  • Wow, that was a beautiful tribute. Marnee was a hoot and will always by missed. I loved her hilarious sense of humor, smile, and quick wit. She always was excited to see and hear from her cousin, me. What a loss for us all.❤️

    Nancy Anderson
    June 19, 2024
    Reno, Nevada
  • What a lovely description of Marnee. I loved how she was so ready to laugh at every moment, and to find the best of every situation. To Rick and the boys, and to all my cousins I send my deepest condolences.

    Celia Welch
    June 19, 2024
    St Helena CA
  • My heart goes out to all of you Bleeg siblings. Annie always shared how much she admired Marnee, her love for Rick, their family, her courage and sense of humor. She definitely lived her life with great integrity.

    Ann Garcia
    June 19, 2024
    Lake Oswego, OR
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