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Harriet, the eldest daughter of Harry and Vida Hundley, was born on June 28, 1939. She was raised in Belton, MO, a small mid-west town outside of Kansas City with her younger sisters Emma and Margaret, and her brother Mike. Their cousin Bill who would later become an important part of her life, would also be at the house sometimes.
She was a precocious young lady and hard worker from the age of 12. In her late teens she moved to the Pacific Northwest to live with her cousin Bill and his family. Her first job in the northwest was as a hostess at McCord Air Force Base. She was later hired as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. Her first flight back to Kansas City was the most direct route available at the time: Seattle-Portland-Denver-Salt Lake City-Kansas City. That job didn’t last long.
Through a mutual friend, Harriet met Lee Benjamin, and it was love at first sight. They corresponded while Lee served out his stint in the Army, and then got married in 1960. Their first son Lance was born in March 1961. They lived in a small rental near Alki Beach known for the monkey puzzle tree in the front yard. Lee started with the Seattle Police Department around 1960. From Alki, they moved to Gregory Heights, and then eventually to the “family home” on 56th Ave in West Seattle. Lyle was born in October 1965 on the same day that Harriet was notified that her husband had been in a car accident and was in the hospital. She gave birth, and they all recovered in the same hospital.
Harriet used her devotion for helping others to forge a very successful career as a real estate agent in West Seattle. Her real estate friends would become like family and provide a backbone of support. Later she would go on to be President of the Bacon Bowl Association. Founded by volunteers to raise money for children’s charities, especially Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, the association donated over TWO MILLION dollars to worthy organizations. These volunteers and members of the Seattle Police Department would also become her extended family.
Harriet partnered with David Nicholson at John L. Scott and continued to sell real estate past her 80th birthday. Harriet was fiercely independent, and enjoyed real estate so much that she would have worked to the end if it had been possible. She kept her mind sharp reading the daily newspaper from front to back, writing letters to politicians and the paper, and inhaling true crime and police novels until her eyesight failed. She was in a terrible car accident in the 1990’s that injured her spinal column. Over the years, she had many operations to fix the numbness, tingling, and pain. Not all were as successful as she would have hoped. The last operation in April 2022, left her disabled. When she moved home 6 months later, she needed 24-7 care. As her body and eyesight continued to fail, she became a recluse. On August 27, the paramedics took her to Swedish Hospital where she died peacefully just before midnight on September 2.
Harriet lived a full life and was loved by many. She experienced the highs and struggles of a life well lived. She is survived by her two sisters Emma and Margaret, and brother Mike; her two sons Lance and Lyle, and their spouses Ginger and Polly; her grandchildren Adam, Hayley and spouse Matt, Connor and Troy; and her great-grandchildren Paige, Bryna, Anika and Ronin.
The celebration of life is 1:00 pm, Monday, September 18, 2023 at the Seattle Police Athletic Pavilion 11030 E. Marginal Way S.
In lieu of flowers (which Harriet never liked), please consider a donation to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
Please share memories & condolences for Harriet on the Tribute Wall, located above.
Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home of West Seattle