Mary Ellen Bunney 73


Mary Ellen Bunney was born on October 19, 1950, in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, to Helen Marguerite Beck and Ernest Edwin Bunney. Mary grew up on the Bunney family ranch near Aladdin, Wyoming until the fall of 1963. While on the ranch, Mary was in the 4-H club, and helped raise and show-out sheep at the county fair. The family then moved to Belle Fourche, where Mary went to High School, graduating from Belle Fourche High School in 1969. While in High School during her senior-year, Mary was selected as the Honored Queen within the Job’s Daughters organization, which is a Masonic affiliated youth organization for girls and young women aged 10 to 20. She had a lot of friends and a witty personality, her classmates called her “Bugs” because of her last name, Bunney.

After High School, Mary attended the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City before attending the St. John’s McNamara School of Nursing in Rapid City. The St. John’s program became Rapid City Regional’s following the merger of the Catholic Hospital with Bennett Clarkson Hospital in 1973. The St. John’s nursing program started in 1929 and closed in 1991. After graduating from Nursing School, Mary would work as a nurse for almost 40-years.

Mary married Owen Louis McDermott in Waterloo, Iowa, on August 9, 1975, when she was 24 years old, where her two children, Kelli and Ed, were born. Shortly after Ed was born the family moved to Hot Springs, South Dakota where Mary worked as a nurse at the Black Hills VA Hospital, helping many of those coming home from Vietnam. Historically, wounded warriors from Civil War battles at Antietam and Gettysburg came to the Black Hills VA Hospital, at the time called the Battle Mountain Sanitarium.

In order to escape the South Dakota winters, the family moved to the Las Vegas, Nevada area where Owen’s sister (Janet Brocklehurst) and aunt (Rose McDaniel) were living. Mary originally worked as a nurse at the St. Rose De Lima Hospital (now St. Rose Dominican) in Henderson, Nevada, and then started working at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas, the majority of her time at these two locations was working in the Hospital Emergency Room (ER). Many of those that worked with her called her a great nurse. Mary retired from Nursing in 2007.

Mary was very crafty and artistic, she started sewing at a young age, and when the family moved to Belle Fourche, she was making beautiful skirts and blouses. Mary was also an accomplished pianist, who could play music just by hearing it, she played in the Belle Fourche High School band and choir, was the Church Organist for the First Henderson United Methodist Church for close to a decade, and later in life learned how to play the guitar. She made by hand so many amazing ceramics, paintings of wood crafts, jewelry, plastic flower & plant arrangements, and took classes to learn how to decorate cakes. She was also involved in advanced second-degree Reiki in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition, and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Mary was also an amazing cook, making the best fried chicken and spaghetti, and every year for Dad’s birthday, a German chocolate cake, all from scratch.

Mary’s husband Owen Louis passed away on April 24, 2021, at their home in Henderson, Nevada, at the age of 73-years. They had been married for over 45-years. On March 2, 2024 at the age of 73-years, Mary passed away at the Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Nevada after a very long battle with chronic pain.

Funeral services were held Friday, March 15 at 11:00 am at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche. Interment followed at Pine Slope Cemetery in Belle Fourche. The funeral was live streamed and can be viewed on Mary’s obituary page at

Living by Faith (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

16 For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. 17 And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. 18 For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.

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