Mary Helen Cagey, age 99, of Lummi, passed away at home surrounded by her family. A prayer service will be held Sunday, November 12, at 6:00pm. A funeral service will be Monday, November 13, at 10:00am. Both services will be at the Wexliem Community Building.
Quatalamo Wha-hap-kin Mary Helen (Jefferson) Cagey
Born February 15, 1918 passed away November 9, 2017 at her home surrounded by her loved ones. She spent her life on the Lummi Reservation. Mary Helen, known as ‘Granny’ to the community, was a kind hearted woman that blessed us with her love, with laughter, and by singing her gospel songs. Even at 95 years old she could fill a huge room with the strength of her voice.
Granny loved to tell her life stories of taking care of her grandparents and fishing on the river. She often shared of when she met Sam, her husband of 68 years, and their first dance in Tulalip (Oh how they loved to dance). She was known for cruising the rez on the back of Sam’s motorcycle with her brother Ralph and the rest of the motorcycle gang.
She enjoyed life with Sam, their children, and the many grandchildren that blessed them. The family shares memories of gathering at mom-n-ems. This is where Granny first organized her annual summer Bible camp that was held for 13 years. She loved to share her passion for prayer.
Granny had a long career in various professions she was a homemaker, bus driver, fisher woman, mended nets and cut shakes. She worked with the elders, in the welfare office, the net factory, the cannery, and the strawberry fields. She referred to herself as a Native American Artist talented with beading, crochet work, cedar weaving, and she took great pride in having designed the Lummi Nation logo.
Her talent didn’t end there. In her younger years Granny enjoyed playing the banjo, auto harp, and harmonica. She also loved to play bone games and bingo with her family.
When the Lummi Day school opened Granny was in the first class and attended until the 8th grade. She also attended boarding school at St. Georges in Tacoma.
Granny was full of compassion, love, and spiritual energy, she has walked with the old people for several years now working as a prayer warrior and guide for the people. She cared deeply about her family and the community, frequently talking of organizing a gathering to teach the youth their family tree. She loved to share family lineage with the youth. Granny also wished to gather her daughters and nieces to sort through her family pictures.
Our Granny had a life full of happy memories with her brothers and sisters playing in her dad’s barn, traveling by horse and buggy, and learning from her grandparents. Her children and grandchildren brought her great joy especially when they learned and practiced the culture together. She was a teacher at heart passing on her knowledge and telling her stories whenever possible.
Preceded in death by her husband Samuel Cagey Sr. (Swa-las); sons Joseph Cagey, Dennis James, Harold James Jr., daughter Rose Marie ‘Geri’ Williams; grandson Samuel P. Deardorff; brothers Lenard, Angelo, Bert, Robert, Bonnie, Adrian and sisters Stella, Rosie, Theresa, and Gertie
Survived by brother Ralph Jefferson Sr.; children Iris James, Theresa (Ralph) Bob, Shirley Bob, Virginia Cagey, Linda Cagey, Samuel Cagey Jr., Mona (Mona’s man Darrel) Cagey and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.