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Leah Huntington



Leah Huntington

On July 6, Leah "Louie" Huntington (nee DiMestico) passed away in her home after a valiant battle with cancer, far surpassing the four- to six-month prognosis given her in 2014. She would have been proud to have beaten those odds, as she was always a determined fighter.

Born in Massachusetts, she developed a strong independence early on, always ready to explore beyond any limits set by her parents, much to their chagrin. She enjoyed sharing stories of how she kept them on their toes.

She lived on Martha's Vineyard and then Cape Cod for many years but adventure called, so after a brief marriage she and her young daughter Roni took a one-way road trip to the west coast, eventually landing in Washington. There she became a documentation specialist at Totem Ocean Trailer Express in Seattle, commuting for many years from rural life in Gold Bar. She was a member of the Washington State Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Sultan. She met Jerry Carter, who was to become her life partner and together they acquired property and built their home in Goldendale.

Here, they began a new adventure, exploring the area and making many new friends. They loved the raw beauty of the wilderness and open space of the surrounding region. They enjoyed their trips to Nevada where Leah would explore the ghost towns they came upon on their way to the casinos. Bones and other artifacts of the Old West which she uncovered were some of her favorite souvenirs.

At home, she could often be found on her porch enjoying the wildlife, which she referred to as "my deer" and "my birds", or arranging her many mannequins and their broken body parts throughout their house. Her family grew to include Jerry Carter's family members and she embraced them into her heart.

Terry Durgan (who Leah nicknamed Francine Durganelli) became an important part of Leah's life, as they spent much time together at yard sales, flea markets, auctions, running errands or just sitting at the dining room table, discussing their lives and loves or solving all of the world's issues. They were by each other's side through very hard times.

Leah's volunteer work and employment at the Presby Museum were a great source of enjoyment, guiding tours and informing visitors of the area's history. In fact, she was a story-teller, often drawing family and friends around her table to entertain with tales of the past, whether from long-ago or the day before, with a wave of her hand or a flick of the ever-present cigarette punctuating every line. Her circle was a much loved family of friends and relations, now including Terry's family.

Fiercely independent, Louie's happiest times were with any chance she got to shock and inspire. "Weird is wonderful!" was her byline. She wanted to instill in the people in her life a sense of wonder and laughter. Very near the end of her life she dyed her hair purple to prove it.

She was predeceased by her loving partner, Jerry Carter, and by her parents, Leo and Annie DiMestico. She leaves behind brother John DiMestico of Maine, daughter Roni Jensen and partner Gary Wass, step-daughters Sue Davis, Angie Garner and husband Jeff, Joni Edelbrook and husband Boyd, grandchildren Ryan, Danika, Austin, Blaine, Josh, Megan, Siena, Sydney, Lane, Cody, Kaci as well as one aunt and many cousins. Friend Terry Durgan and family, certainly a part of this list. Leah will be dearly missed by all.

Leah's celebration of life will be held September 10 at 2 p.m. at the Goldendale American Legion.

Repeated this week at the request of the family.


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