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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Obituaries

Obituary: Palanuk, Mary Magdalene (Ernest)

Age 100

PALANUK, Mary Magdalene (Ernest) Was born on Valentine’s Day, 1915 in Stratford, Oklahoma.

She went on to Glory April 16, 2015.

Mary moved to Grand Coulee with her brother Edward and wife Margaret after his return from the Navy in 1938.

She worked in the Almira area helping with housework, then for Dover and Sue Perry at Dover’s, a local cafe.

At work, she met Marvin Stephen (Mike) Palanuk, “The Handsomest Man She Had Ever Seen.”

After two weeks of courtship, they were married on New Year’s Eve 1939, a partnership lasting 65 years.

During the war they lived in Portland, Oregon, returning to Grand Coulee in 1945 and started a family insurance business where she was the office manager.

Mary was a remarkable woman.

She was a gentle, loving wife, mother grandmother, and great-grandmother.

As a member of her church, enjoyed teaching Sunday school, singing and playing the piano.

Mary was UMW woman of the year and made an unforgettable chicken noodle soup and lemon pie for the annual rummage sale.

She also contributed recipes for the church cookbook, which was dedicated to her.

She was a serious competitor, recounting how she “fixed” an opposing dirty player (who was stepping on toes) while playing high school basketball.

She loved to play ball and was always up for a competitive game of cards, excelling in both.

Although, she wasn’t a good loser when playing cards.

In addition to her church activities, Mary was a life member of both the Order of the Eastern Star and Women of the Moose.

She was preceded in death by her parents Thomas Henry Ernest and Willia Catherine (Sliger), her husband Mike, and brothers and sisters (four girls, three boys).

Survivors include her sons, Mick (Pat) Spokane Valley, Larry (Emma) The Bronx, NY and Marv (Shirley) Grand Coulee, seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren A Visitation will be held at Strate Funeral Home in Grand Coulee, WA from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Friday, April 24th .

Mary’s services will be held at the Grand Coulee United Methodist Church at 1 pm on Saturday, April 25th.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the United Methodist Church or Spring Canyon Cemetery.

Please sign Mary’s online register book at

STRATE FUNERAL HOME of Grand Coulee is honored to be serving her family.

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