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Obituary for Nel Margaret Bannister

Nel Margaret  Bannister
Nell was born in Palmer, WA on April 24, 1918 to Harry (d. 1927) and Bessie Anderson (d.1955) and after living for 100 years, 7 months and 9 days, Nell passed on December 2, 2018. Nell lived a remarkable life, enduring post WWI, the Great Depression and WWII economies and the impacts those events had on her communities.
She married Fred Bannister, Jr. in 1939. Fred and Nell settled in Enumclaw where they had 3 boys: Ronnie (b.1944), Fred (b.1945) and David (b. 1951). In the 1940’s they manned a USFS Lookout (O Ferrell) watching for Japanese bomber airplanes that were supposedly going to come over Western Washington to burn down all the forests. Together, Nell and Fred opened and operated Bannister’s Studio and Camera Center for 25 years. Nell continued her passion for camera technology as manager of the Bon Marche Camera Department in Tacoma. Fred died of cancer in 1974. In 1975 Nell met and married Bruce Smith (d.1989) and after retiring continued to actively support many charitable organizations including the Children’s Orthopedic Guild and the Eastern Star Lodge. After Bruce’s death, Nell moved to Mesa, AZ where she enjoyed the warmth of the AZ climate until 2004 when she moved to the Bellingham area to be near her son. Her last three years were spent at Spring Creek Retirement Center where she suffered a massive stroke on November 28 and passed on December 2 surrounded by family.
Nell had a passion for numerous activities, including: crafts, playing bridge with her friends, and never missed a Seahawks or Cougar game and was able to extend all of these interests into the final week of her well-lived life. Nell’s commitment to family was evident through her frequent trips to Bainbridge and Tacoma as well as a recent trip to Houston, TX. She is survived by her son Fred; two grandchildren, Peter (Ruth) and Kirsten (Gareth); and three great grandchildren, Oskar, Michael and Arran.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later time.
Family and Friends are encouraged to leave memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com.
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