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Obituary: Cunningham, Arleen Dell (Cummins)

Sun., May 5, 2013

Age 83

CUNNINGHAM, Arleen Dell (Cummins) (Age 83) Of Spokane, WA passed peacefully at home on March 7, 2013.

Dell was born in Glendive, Mt on May 16, 1929 to Mrs. Nina Krug Cummins and Robert B. Cummins of Mandan, ND.

Dell attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School and Mandan High School for three years before moving to Missoula, MT to graduate in 1947.

In high school and college Dell developed her love of classic clothing while working in her father’s store, the Cummins Clothing Store for Women in Missoula.

Her mother always said, with Dell’s knowledge of style she could sell the most beautiful outfits to anyone.

She attended the University of Montana where she pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Dell graduated from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN earning her Degree in Education in 1952.

Dell went on to receive her St. Nicholas Montessori Teaching Certificates in London, England.

Dell taught Kindergarten at Assumption Parish in Minneapolis, MN until she married Louis J. Cunningham on October 16, 1953.

Dell lived in Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Missoula and settled in Spokane where she raised her three children.

She continued teaching the Montessori method of education at St. Aloysius School, Fairchild Air Force Base, the Guild School and Holy Names Fort Wright College where she retired after teaching for 27 years.

Dells true love of children and teaching came at an early age when all the neighborhood children would follow her around like Mother Goose (or their favorite teacher).

Her grandchildren always enjoyed coming to her beautiful classroom to play, as she always said, “the child’s work is their play”.

Their play included learning how to read with the alphabet boxes and objects, opening chestnuts, painting with cattails and exploring nature for flowers and other treasures.

Mom loved to listen to KPPS and classical music from the Gonzaga Campus Radio Station.

Mom was a longtime member of The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes and the weekly Rosary group.

She attended Novenas at St. Al’s and Our Lady of Lourdes.

Dell was preceded in death by her mother and father Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Cummins and her sister Nina (Topsy) Barnhill.

Dell is survived by her sister Ann McIntyre of Seattle; brothers Robert Cummins (Ally Ann) Helena, MT and William Cummins (Emmy) of Fullerton, CA; her three children Kevin Cunningham (Kathy) of Seattle, WA; daughter Kathleen C. Bourcy (David) of Spokane, WA; Sean Louis Cunningham (Kim) of Beaverton, OR.

Dell was blessed with six grandchildren Colleen, Michelle, Brendan, Cailin, Michael and Conner and four great-grandchildren Emily, Liam, Tess and Kensie and numerous nieces and nephews.

Dell’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, May 11th at 10:00 a.m. at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Her Rosary service will be on Friday, May 10th at 7:00 p.m. at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home.

To view Dell’s online tribute, please visit

Arrangements entrusted to


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