Grace Edriel “Dee Dee” Huntley, died peacefully in Prineville at the age of 101 on September 28, 2020. Dee Dee was born on September 5, 1919 in Grand Forks North Dakota to Grace Brynjolfson Mills and Richard F. Mills. The family moved to Minot North Dakota where her father became General Agent of the Great Northern Railroad, and where her brother Cameron was born in 1922. When Dee Dee was a year old, her Grandmother “Nana” came to live with them and became a very important figure in her life. Dee Dee described her as “my best friend and I always knew that she loved me dearly.”
Dee Dee graduated from Minot High School in 1937 and attended Minot Teachers College where she was a member of Beta Theta sorority. She graduated from the Medical Secretary course at Rochester Junior College and worked at the Mayo clinic as a medical secretary. Dee Dee and Dennis “Red” Huntley (a classmate she had known all her school years) were married on October 17, 1942 in the Ferguson chapel of the First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma Washington, where Red was stationed with the Army. This duty would send him overseas in 1943 with the 957th Field Artillery serving in England, France and Belgium during World War II. During this time, Dee Dee returned to Minot and worked at the Northwest Medical Clinic while Red was overseas. Dee Dee’s time waiting for Red during the war years fostered in her a deep and abiding commitment to the importance of peace, which she stressed to her children and friends the rest of her life. Red sailed into New York on the E B Alexander in October of 1945 and the next chapter of Dee Dee’s life began as Red returned to college at the University of North Dakota, graduating with his teaching degree.
Dee Dee and Red had three children, John, Tim and Judy. During those years they made their way from Devil’s Lake North Dakota to Lewistown Montana, and finally to Prineville Oregon in 1961 where Dee Dee would spend the rest of her life. She was a talented singer, loved attending concerts of all kinds when she could, and supported many music events over the years in Prineville. She was thrilled when the Eugene Southwell Auditorium came to be at Crook County High School. Dee Dee logged countless miles supporting the many sporting events of her children and their friends. She often spoke of the many friendships and wonderful trips which were an important part of her life during the “Cowgirl years” of CCHS girls basketball that son Tim and Red coached. She grew to love baseball, and was a passionate Seattle Mariner fan from the beginning. Dee Dee also won a contest to name the fledgling single A baseball team in Bend (The Rainbows) and attended many games. Dee Dee loved family outings whether it was camping at Deep Creek or just going for a Sunday drive. A great joy each Spring was the trip to Summit Prairie to see the wildflowers. She loved her yard and flowers. She treasured trips to the ocean. She was a cancer survivor. As the grandchildren came along, they were the light of her life and she showed each one of them such amazing love, modeling kindness and compassion for them, and attending every event of theirs she could. She was interested in so many things, and this curiosity to know never waned, even to the end of her life. She loved to talk about history, space and the wonders of technology that she witnessed in her long life. Dee Dee was active in promoting peace in whatever way she could and even in her later years continued to be active with her dear “peace sisters” Janlee, Denise and Janet doing their part to work for peace in the community. During the Vietnam years, she always displayed stickers with “War is not healthy for children and other living things” along with “Another Mother for Peace” and a favorite phrase that came from Black Elk at the Custer Battlefield memorial “Know the Power that is Peace.” She would wish that for each of you and for the world.
Dee Dee is survived by her son John (Margaret), son Tim (Kathy) and daughter Judy (Steve), her cherished grandchildren Amanda Fischer (Matt), Tim Schuette (Becky), Hayley Smith (Scott), Kelly Huntley (Tana), Kyle Huntley (Kaitlyn) Allie Huntley Spikes (Jordan) and Kevin Huntley. She also leaves great grandchildren Riley, Ainsley, Emily, Sophie, Emma, Haddie, Hollis, Collins, Darius, Nani, Kamille, baby boy Huntley to arrive in February, and Ava Maeve. She also leaves beloved nieces and nephews in Minnesota, North Dakota, California, Colorado and Portugal.
Donations or memorials may be made in honor of Dee Dee to Friends of the Crook County Library, St. Charles Prineville Hospice, Friends of the Kam Wah Chung museum, OPB, or the SMART reading program.
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