Kevin Denise Poole Cunningham, 64, left us too soon, on October 11, 2021.
Born in 1957 near Tahoe, Calif., Kevin was the cherished firstborn of Marilyn Dee (Musgrove) Poole and Herbert Lawrence Poole. Her cheerful and gregarious nature was there from the start, a gurgling, happy baby who talked early and never knew a stranger. When younger siblings came along – Linda 1959 and Mike 1961 – Kevin took on the serious job of Big Sis. As Mom’s little helper, Kevin cuddled, bossed, and attempted to organize the rambunctious younger kids. It was a challenging task, and one that she continued with love and success her whole life.
In 1962 the family moved to Okanogan, Wash. living across the street from the Virginia Grainger School for a couple years while Herb built a home on their Chiliwist cattle ranch. During her second-grade year she met her life-long friend, Karen Tweden.
Kevin grew as the ranch did. Horseback from an early age, Kevin’s notable mounts progressed from Rosie, a pudgy Shetland pony who bucked, kicked, and nipped her regularly – to Rock Hawk, a classy chestnut Quarter Horse she showed across the state, amassing a wall of trophies and championship ribbons.
Especially close to her mom, Kevin learned many skills at Marilyn’s side. They loved to travel and explore ancestry leading them to Scotland, her favorite place. Together they sewed beautiful apparel and a mountain of wonderful quilts. Kevin and her mom loved shopping and hit most every fabric store in the PNW. She was a master quilter who created hundreds of quilts for graduates, newlyweds, and friends. Those that are blessed with her quilts know her talent, even though she claimed she was not “creative”.
Kevin attended school in Malott and Okanogan, Wash. then went to Washington State University. As a pledge to WSU’s Tri Delt sorority, Kevin met her lifelong friend and sister of her heart, Janie Rumberger. She loved her time with the sorority and kept many connections.
Always a lovely and feminine girl, Kevin’s un-girly name caused some confusion; enrollment in boy’s PE and later a notification to sign up for the military draft.
For many years, Kevin worked in Omak for DSHS. Always organized and determined to help, Kevin was well-suited to serving clients and managing a busy office.
In 1982, Kevin married Wade Cunningham and moved to his family ranch on Scotch Creek, near Conconully, Wash. Wade and Kevin helped Wade’s folks, Spud and Irene Cunningham, with the cattle and hay operation.
In 1983, they were blessed by the birth of their only child, Jacob Wade. Jake grew up surrounded by love, good cattle, solid horses, and a caring community – Kevin wouldn’t settle for anything less for her beloved boy!
Kevin was a tireless volunteer – 4-H leader, rural fire department chief, FFA advisor, and worked tirelessly through the Cold Springs Fire relief effort. She was an active member in the Cattlewomen’s Association for over 30 years and the self-appointed keeper of the “Little Red Barn.”
She was always willing to run to town for a part, drop off a tool or deliver anything. Always with can-do attitude and determination to get the job done right. There’s no way to overestimate the blessings she brought to her friends and community through the hundreds of meetings she organized, projects she completed, gifts she gave, and people she called just to visit and be a friend. Her twinkling eyes and cheerful smile were always there.
When Jake married Kelsie Hughes in 2012, Kevin and Wade got not just a daughter-in-law, but a true daughter of their hearts. Jake and Kelsie brought the ultimate joy to Kevin’s life with the birth of their sons, Colter, and July. Living so close, Gamma Kevin loved being part of the daily lives of the boys, helping them grow as strong and happy ranch kids surrounded by horses, cattle, dogs, family and a close community.
Each year, Kevin made the very best Halloween costumes for her treasured grandsons, Colter and July – whatever creature or superhero they wanted to be, Gamma would whip up the necessary duds, then pose with her little guys in their guises.
Kevin’s ever-present smile and cheerful busy ways, will live on in our hearts forever. She leaves a legacy of fierce love for her family and ranch community. As well as a love for red pickups, 12 black vests, 8 visors, a herd of cats and a disdain for pepper.
Kevin was preceded in death by her parents, Marilyn and Herbert Poole; and her in-laws, Spud and Irene Cunningham. She is survived by husband, Wade; sister Linda; brother, Mike (Vicki) Poole; son, Jake and daughter-in-law, Kelsie; grandsons, Colter and July; and many others who were blessed to call her a friend.
A celebration of Kevin’s life will be held in the Johnson Creek community in the summer of 2022.