In Loving Memory Of Mary-Elizabeth Kujava 1958 ~ 2023


Mary-Elizabeth Ann Kujava passed away Aug. 1, 2023, in Missoula, Montana. 

Mary was born Dec. 8, 1958, to Francis and Charlotte (Gurley) Coyle in Seattle, Washington. She joined siblings Mike, Pat, Jim, Melina, Jon and Helen. Soon after, her sister Katie joined the mix. 

Mary grew up in Seattle and later Kirkland, Washington, raised by her father after her mother’s untimely passing in 1964. She graduated from Juanita High School in 1977. 

In late 1980, she met Rick Kujava and they started their family soon after. Together, they raised four children in the Amboy and Yacolt, Washington, area. They were her greatest accomplishment, and she was so proud of each of them and the people they’d become. As the kids were growing up, Mary’s door was always open to all her kids’ friends, many of whom called her mom. She was the fun mom and a safe space. 

In 2008, Mary earned the title of “Little Grandma” and she wore it with great pride. She loved her granddaughters more than anything and was always so proud of their accomplishments. They will always remember how excited she was to hear about what was happening at school and what was going on with them. 

In 2013, Mary moved to Conrad, Montana, to be closer to three of her children and her grandchildren. It also brought her a little closer to Rick, as he’d been working in North Dakota. She wasn’t a big fan of Montana winters but did appreciate the quietness and the views, especially watching the thunderstorms roll in during the summer. 

Mary battled health issues since the early 1990s, but she rarely complained and always fought with a positive attitude. Though she earned the nickname “Mary Sunshine” as a child, she exemplified it every day of her life. 

Mary loved her children, her grandchildren, elephants and dogs, especially Bubba, who was her faithful companion and protector until 2019. 

Mary is survived by her partner of nearly 43 years, Rick Kujava, of Conrad, Montana; her children, Matthew James and his wife Becky, of Brady, Montana; Jonathon Lawrence, of Conrad, Montana; Catherine Louise, of Woodland, Washington; and Elizabeth Marie, of Conrad, Montana; a special niece who was more like a daughter, Helen Bingaman, of Conrad, Montana; granddaughters Makenzie Marie and Erika Lawren, of Brady, Montana; sisters, Melina McCombs, of Seattle, and Katie (Kerry) Garberding of, Pacific, Washington; father-in-law, Lawrence Kujava, of Tokeland, Washington; in-laws, Fred (Vera) Kujava, of Amboy, Jerry (Natalie) Kujava, of Battle Ground, Washington, Tracy Kujava, of Tokeland, and Denise Kujava, of Battle Ground; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends who were more like family. 

There will be a celebration of life at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Conrad Moose Lodge, 617 S. Main St., Conrad, Montana, 59425. All are welcome to attend.