Lanada Darlene Eaton Richards Cunningham


July 27, 2023

Lanada Darlene Eaton Richards Cunningham

May 24, 1935-July 11, 2023

Lanada Darlene Eaton Richards Cunningham, 88, passed peacefully the early morning of July 11, 2023, in College Place, Wash., following a difficult seven months.

The seventh child of Walter Otho and Laura Pearl (Spragg) Eaton of Dayton, Lanada was born on the Eckler Mountain homestead, above Dayton, where she and her seven siblings attended school and helped their parents farm. Her connection to the mountain property, her siblings, and extended family shaped her identity.

Mom was the willful, youngest daughter, who lived firmly by her own rules. She was a member of the Dayton High School class of 1954. During high school, Mom worked at Dorsey's Café, where her shenanigans were well known. Her lifelong friend, LeClercq Bennett Eaton was her school years BFF, and always a caring Auntie to Lanada's children.

Mom met Dad, Lloyd Richards, at Piper's Café in Milton-Freewater (MF), the couple married October 1955. Mom and Dad raised their five children in MF. A highlight was the new home Dad built on College Street and their new metallic green station wagon, with the backseat facing backwards, and the distinction of having one of the first color TVs on College Street. Mom had a strong work and play ethic. She waited tables for Harry Chakos' at his Main Street restaurant, was the night bartender at the M-F Supper Club for decades, where some of her co-workers became friends for life; these friends include Marilyn Schubert Aggeler, JoAnn Johnson, Glenda Cosner, Gayle Hagerman Holly, Mary Wightman, the Luke "girls," Donna Shockman, and Mona Groom Waliser.

Mom left bar life to work at the Freewater Rexall Drug, then soon bought the little mom and pop Neighborhood Grocery also in Freewater. Mom and Dad divorced during this period. She remained the sole proprietor for two decades, until retirement.

Mom met Bob Cunningham of Cordova, Ark., at the Walla Walla Senior Center. The couple married in 1998 in Coeur D' Alene. Bob was an Alaskan through and through, and from this, Mom traveled, was exposed to Bob's wonderful life in Cordova, where the couple lived part of the year and the remainder in sunny Yuma.

The couple enjoyed happy years between their two homes. With family and friends in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, the couple trekked and visited each way, and at every stop, they enjoyed.

When Bob's health failed, the couple left Yuma for M-F. Bob passed Aug. 1, 2014. Mom was able to maintain her independence until a month ago.

We are all feeling a void without the force of Mom's free spirit and her endearing malapropisms. As a 1950s teenage girl, she was all things Elvis; she cranked up old country western tunes, and any type of flower bouquet made her smile wide. Mom rocked a legendary beehive hairdo for decades and sometimes it was blonde. Meeting Charlie Pride when he swung through MF, was a favorite memory.

Mom was pre-deceased by her parents, sisters, Merna, Shirley, Mary-Alice; brothers, Arlie, Otho, Norm; by her husband, Bob, and former husband, Lloyd.

-Submitted photo

Lanada Darlene Eaton Richards Cunningham

Mom is survived by youngest brother, John (Sharon-Robb, Randy) Eaton; her children, Robin (Kathy-Jeremy, Keith, Gabe) Richards, Deb (James-Seth, Meredith Wrinkle, Lex Groves, Fred, Beth) Brumley, Cyndi (Ken–Kerri Hart) McKay, Jerrie (Donna) Richards, Bill (Berniece-Forrest, Collette, Justin, Will) Richards, 24 great grandchildren, along with a special cousin, Betty Keller. She is survived by Bob's children: Vanessa (Jon-Daniel, Christine, David, Faith) Lomeland, Lisa (Pat-Rachell, Rebecca, Nathan Cain, Charles, Bethany, Caden, Cheyenne, Cody Vaught, Catherine, Zach Renner) Simpson, Robert (Gloria -Robert, Audrey, Jerry, Raven) Cunningham and Scott Cunningham, and 21 great grandchildren. Mom also leaves cherished Eaton, Richards and Cunningham nieces and nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews.

A gathering is planned at the Moose Creek Café & Bakery in Dayton, Wash., on Saturday, September 30 at 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

The family thanks Janna Hartzheim for her professionalism and compassion, Vanessa Lomeland and our brother, Bill, for their infinite efforts, which allowed Mom her dignity and independence.

Fly high Mom❤️

Colonial-DeWitt Funeral Home of College Place oversaw arrangements.

A family and friends' remembrance will be held from 10 am-12 noon on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Dayton, location to TBA, followed by a family gathering on the Eckler Mountain property.


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Dayton Chronicle
East Washingtonian

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