June Marilyn Vynne (Hellenthal), affectionately called “June Bug” by her family, passed away on Aug. 29, 2021, following a short illness. She recently celebrated her 99th birthday, full of life and surrounded by family, on a beautiful Seattle day.
June was born in Seattle on July 23, 1922, to Frederick and Nora Hellenthal. She grew up in the Rainier Valley where her family settled in the 1880s. Her father was a well-known sailor in the Seattle area, and she spent most weekends with her parents and sisters, Ruth and Dorothy, sailing Puget Sound on their boat, the Gwendolyn II.
June graduated from Franklin High School and the University of Washington, where she was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and the Associated Students of the University of Washington secretary in 1942-43. While at the university, she met her future husband, Eustace “Sunny” Vynne, who also happened to be a well-regarded sailor. In the spring of 1943, having graduated early from the UW, she traveled with her mother by train to St. Augustine, Florida, to marry Sunny, who was attending Officer Candidate School. She lived at home for the balance of the war while Sunny was deployed to the South Pacific.
After the war, June and Sunny settled in Seattle. June was a devoted Mom and CEO of the home, raising three children in northeast Seattle. She was engaged in all their activities, as well as her primary volunteer activity, a Seattle Children’s Hospital guild she had formed with several of her sorority sisters. The Olive Kerry Guild was in existence for 75 years. Sailboat racing and cruising continued to be an integral part of Vynne family life. A highlight of their sailing activities was the 1974 Intrepid America’s Cup campaign. Together they raised funds for the “People’s Boat” and spent the summer campaigning the Intrepid 12 Meter in Newport, Rhode Island.
In the early 1960s, June and Sunny built a home on Brown Island in the San Juan Islands and moved there permanently in 1977. She continued her community involvement in the islands. They were founding members of Islander Bank. June served as a trustee for the San Juan Preservation Trust, was a volunteer firefighter and active supporter of many other island organizations. A devoted Husky, she had football tickets going back to the early 1950s.
June’s curiosity, wit, warmth and generosity made her a joy to have a conversation with and led her on many travel adventures. She tirelessly cared for Sunny for 8 years after his stroke, and following his death in 1996, she visited numerous countries around the world and read widely. She could make a human connection anywhere she went.
In 2007 June moved into Parkshore retirement home in Madison Park where she renewed her Seattle friendships. She was active on various committees and three weeks prior to her death was still participating in water aerobics and exercise classes.
June is survived by sons John Vynne (Barbara) and Bob Vynne (Melissa), and daughter Sally Vynne Fenton (Greg-deceased); seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Special thanks to the nursing staff at Parkshore who cared for her with compassion during the last two weeks of her life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Seattle Children’s Hospital or the University of Washington.
June Bug had an energy, curiosity and zest for life that was contagious. Her bright light will be missed by all who knew her. We say farewell with a traditional Vynne cheer: “June Bug, Hip, Hip, Hooray, Hip, Hip, Hooray, June Bug.”