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Cleo Levi Wilbur
March 16, 1938 ~ September 26, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old
It is with great sorrow and bittersweet gratitude that the Wilbur, James, Purcell, Daniels and Courville families announce the passing of our dear Cleo Levi Wilbur, fondly remembered by many as “Levi,” passed away on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 in Tacoma, Washington. Levi was born March 16, 1938, in Auburn, Washington, to father John C. Wilbur of Swinomish and mother Esther James of Muckleshoot.
Levi lived his life adventuring and exploring many places along the West Coast, from Los Angeles, California, to Portland, Oregon. He credited his life lessons to the various landscapes he resided in, often working as a gardener or an agricultural laborer. Along the way, Levi collected many stories on his life’s journey and developed a deep admiration for nature, as he was known to be an avid outdoorsman. He loved to shop, but mostly for other people, as he had a talent for gift-giving, a measure of his generosity. Often referred to as the “sweetest” and “most handsome,” Levi truly captured the hearts of those who interacted with him. If you met him, you were grateful to know him. Levi will be remembered for all the heart he shared with the people who cared for him, including his caretakers Juanita Edwards and Tamara Eningowuk, who were dear to him. Levi was a favorite amongst the Muckleshoot Elders Staff. Transporters Geno West III, Leo Daniels IV, and Andrew Simmons would take turns going on road trips with Levi, where they would be fascinated by his oral histories and storytelling. Levi often shared these stories and gifts with humor and a friendly smirk. He carried a unique gift that made you feel like something magical was about to happen—an indicator of his kindred and lively spirit, loving personality, and kind heart. Interestingly enough, at the end of their lives, older brother Patrick Wilbur (1927-2014) and Levi were the oldest male Muckleshoot tribal members.
Levi was preceded by his father, John C. Wilbur; his mother, Esther James, brothers John Wilbur, Patrick Wilbur, Henry Wilbur, Anthony Wilbur, Franklin Wilbur, and William Wilbur; and sisters Clara Wilbur (Dewey Purcell), Gladys Wilbur (Ernest Purcell), Alice Wilbur and Esther Eaton (Stewart Eaton), and niece Marilyn Purcell.
Levi is survived by his sister Venitta Lewis, his nephews Johnny Wilbur, Greg Stewart (Elsie), Raymond Wilbur (Pam), Joe Wilbur (Yolanda) Nadine Wilbur, Wendy Burdette, great-grandniece Valerie Segrest (Louie Ungaro), great-grandnephew Andrew Burdette (Allison Brown), great-great-grandnieces Mazzy and Gea Ungaro, and several other nieces and nephews.
Levi Wilbur will be remembered with great respect and deep love.
A viewing will be held at the Weeks’ Funeral Home, located in Buckley, Washington, on Thursday, September 28th, 2023, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held Friday, September 29th, 2023, at the Muckleshoot Pentecostal Church in Auburn, Washington, starting at 10:00 am. Levi’s final resting place will be next to his brother, Patrick Wilbur, at the New White Lake Cemetery in Auburn, Washington.