1918 - 2012
Mary Elia Gunberg passed away peacefully on Aug. 14, 2012, at Garrison Creek Lodge in Walla Walla at the age of 94. Born on Feb. 27, 1918 in Walla Walla to Joe and Clara (Spagnuola) Elia, she attended Walla Walla schools and was a member of Italian Heritage and St. Francis Catholic Church. The oldest of 10 children, she was dedicated to her family. She helped raise and care for her brothers and sisters and worked very hard on her family’s vegetable farm.
She married Paul Gunberg in Lewiston on Aug. 21, 1946. They had two children, a son, Gary and daughter, Marylee Topel. Employed as a sales clerk for the Beehive and Drumheller Company, Mary also worked for a bakery. She enjoyed gardening, baking and sharing her baked goods with family and friends, and was devoted to her Italian heritage. In 1999, she was co-marshal for the annual Italian Heritage parade. She was famous for her meatballs, her “crock,” cured green olives, Italian cookies, cavatelli and her homemade gnocchi.
Mary is survived by a daughter, Marylee Topel of Walla Walla; a brother, Joe Elia (Betty) of California; a sister, Emma (Walt) Deinhardt of Boise; sisters-in-law Elveda and Bea Elia; four grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband; a son, Gary; and her grandson, Tony Niemeyer; brothers, Dominick, Frank and Bennie Elia; and sisters, Rose Ruscio, Angie Stinnett, Jennie Peterson and Arlene Lesko.
Memorial funeral Mass will be held Friday, Aug. 17, at 10 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church on Alder Street in Walla Walla. Private family interment will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Walla Walla Community Hospice, Walla Walla Catholic Schools or charity of the donor’s choice through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder St., Walla Walla, WA 99362.
“Riposi in Pace”