Dee Dee Rainbow
1932 - 2013
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Dee Dee Rainbow

Seattle has lost an icon. Dee Dee Rainbow, aka "The Rainbow Lady," has died at 81. She passed away peacefully on November 12 in Seattle, the city where she was born Delores Yvonne to Cedric and Edna Wardall on September 3, 1932. Dee Dee Rainbow was her chosen name and she lived up to it everyday - never seen without her brightly hued attire and accoutrements, and the abundant glitter that always transferred to recipients of her frequent hugs. She brought her unique brand of joy and exuberance to everyone she met.

Dee Dee grew up in Laurelhurst and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1950. She married Peter Raible that same year. They would live in Berkeley, CA, and then Providence, RI, where she attended the Rhode Island School of Design. They moved to Lincoln, NE, where she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Education at the University of Nebraska. They returned to Seattle in 1961 and settled into the Madrona residence she would call home for most of her adult life. Dee Dee was a longtime arts educator, teaching for 29 years at Meany Middle School. She was also a ceramicist, creating signature dragon sculptures in her Madrona studio incorporating crystals and volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helens. As a licensed officiant and MC, she presided over many weddings/unions and celebrations. Most of all, Dee Dee loved all things jazz, and was a fixture at live music events and festivals, and all things to do with the arts. She regularly escorted the Garfield High School Jazz Band to performances at jazz hot-spots such as New Orleans and Montreux, Switzerland. She especially looked forward to her annual forays to the Monterey Jazz Festival (44 in all!), where she founded and led a New Orleans-style parade that continues today.

Dee Dee was once voted "The Second Most Eccentric Person in Seattle" by the Seattle Weekly. Her response: "How did I fall short?" She was the center of attention where ever she went, happily interacting with the gathering crowds. Dee Dee was a warm and wonderful person, truly believing she could effect positive change with her gleeful demeanor and the "Rainbow Blessings" she bestowed with her wand.

Dee Dee was preceded in death by ex-husband, the Rev. Dr. Peter Raible in 2004, and daughter Robin in 2006. Ms. Rainbow's survivors include her sister Marsha Valentine, children Stephen, Robert and Deborah Raible, and their spouses, eight grandchildren and many, many extended family members and friends. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, January 4, 1:00 p.m. at University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave NE, Seattle.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Nov. 17, 2013.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
JAN
4
Celebration of Life
01:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Family
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50 entries
December 6, 2019
I noticed Ron sent a message on the date of my birthday! Thanks for reminder to think of dear Dee Dee and reflect on the wonder of her being a racing whirlwind of color! I know she is still happily skipping along, tossing out rainbows of love!
Bettie Luke
December 5, 2019
May you rest in rainbow peace
Sj
October 31, 2019
You were one of God's blessings thank you for making Seattle Brighter
Ron Rhoades
November 19, 2018
Dee Dee dancing with Bochinche at the Bellevue Jazz Festival 1987.<br />Thank you Dee Dee for the love, fun times, many laughs and wonderful times! Eduardo
Eddie Quintero
Friend
October 22, 2017
We met Dee Dee for a few hours during a flying from bangkok to denpasar, in 2000.
Simply sweet.
Good bye Dee Dee.
Ciao

Matteo, Italy
Matteo
April 11, 2017
I'm so glad to have found this, even though it is several years since she passed. Dee Dee was my teacher, but also a friend.

Dee Dee was kind, brave and inspiring. As an educator she chose that most awkward of times, middle school, and reveled in it. At a time when we all struggled with trying desperately to be included she was a radiant example of how to be true to yourself, live the life you want and give selflessly.

Thank you Ms Rainbow!
Angel Nunley
May 10, 2015
Dee Dee came to a Come As Your Mother (or don't come at all) Party years ago where she arrived as her mother, Edna, and her 2 children dress in full rainbow and glitter. I did not know we lost this bright soul -- my condolences to the family!
Chuck Becker
February 18, 2015
I met Dee Dee in the early 80's. I spent a weekend in her home, and so enjoyed meditating with her and her friends, and having some serious fun during that short time I got to spend with her. I will never forget her. SHINE ON IN THE HEAVENS, OH ONE SO BRIGHT! HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
sandy mae
November 12, 2014
My condolences. May God carry friends and family through this trying time.
October 2, 2014
I remember her she was my art teacher at Meany Middle School she was so much fun and loved us kids very much. She got me interested in art. I will never forget her she is what made me want to go to school.
Kathie Nelson
September 4, 2014
Happy Birthday Dee Dee Rainbow!! I always remember walking down to your house in Madrona for birthday celebrations or seeing you down at Bumbershoot having the best time!! Your 60th bday was a blast!! Miss you... Cathy B.
August 17, 2014
I remember her coming to university district and northgate area.
I remember used to saying hi rainbow lady.
Heidi Burns Rourke
Heidi Rourke
August 1, 2014
I only knew about her because my own name is Dee Rainbow (Dee Dee to my best friends) I thought she looked fabulous, fun and a wonderful lady. I'm sad she passed away last year.
Dee Rainbow
May 12, 2014
Dee Bennett Johnson
January 25, 2014
This remembrance is to let Dee Dee Rainbow's family know what an indelible impression she had on people she never knew.
I happened to see the obituary in the paper. Well, I saw the picture. And was instantly transported 30 years into the past. The year was 1982, I was newly settled in the San Francisco Bay Area and a friend had tickets to the Monterey Jazz Festival.
It was a beautiful sunny weekend. A very young Wynton Marsalis was among the artists that year.
And then there was the parade down the aisles. Among all the colorful characters a woman resplendent in the most festive attire was most memorable. So striking was her joie de vivre that even a black and white photo caught my attention and transported me back to a most wonderful time so many years ago.
Thank you Dee Dee for the memory. I can only imagine the impact you had on friends and family that were in your circle.
Karen Comer
January 5, 2014
My sincere condolences to her family. I have very fond memories of enjoying coffee with Dee Dee, and her delightful grandsons, at the Hi Spot Cafe. I feel blessed to have known her. The world will be a less colorful place, without Ms. Rainbow's radiance shining on us.
Rebecca Jo Solomon
January 3, 2014
Dearest Dee Dee! My family loved you so much. You brought such joy wherever you were. You knew what living a good life was all about and had so much fun doing it. Thank you for being in our lives, sharing your love and all that wonderful color. We will always love you! Nick and Mario loved having you at their birthday parties and Nathan and Caleb's. Our hearts go out to Deborah, RR, Stephen, Nathan, Caleb and the rest of the family.
Terri Benson
January 2, 2014
My sister, Sarah Griffin Johnson worked for DeeDee and her family for many years, caring for the home, loving the adults, especially loving the children. Sarah was mentored by Dee Dee and the Rev. Raible; DeeDee's fearlessness and support allowed Sarah to find her own courage, learn to drive, and buy her first car when she was fifty years old! Each time I saw Rainbow DeeDee around Seattle in all her splendor, I smiled and gave thanks for the way she brought joy and hope. I give thanks for her life, a life that demonstrated a way to march to ones own drummer. Comfort and blessings to Stephen, RR, and Deborah.
Jean Harris
January 2, 2014
I am saddened to learn of Dee Dee's passing, but I know her spirit is soaring high. Not only did I see her at a multitude of Seattle events, "The Rainbow Lady" was a fixture at the Mt Hood Festival Of Jazz in Gresham, OR, and I looked forward to seeing her there every year as much as I did the music. She always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. We love you Dee Dee!
Lori Morisette
January 2, 2014
What a joyful and welcoming spirit! When we both worked for the Seattle Public Schools, I observed her class during a School Climate Survey assignment. She allowed music during her art classes but students were expected to get down to task with their art work. Knowing she was such a free spirit, I did not know what to expect on a professional level. She was in command - kind but firm and supportive guidance, to get down to business of creating art work.
I bought a couple of her Dragon Mugs - one is on my counter, where each day I see it, I'm reminded of her talent and warmth. I feel fortunate that I was a member of the huge crowds of people who knew her.
Her spirit lives! GO Dee Dee!
Bettie Luke
December 22, 2013
Dee Dee was an inspiration to me and my family. She loved life and she rubbed off on any one she came in contact with. I was her intern at Meany Middle School in the 79-80 term. I learned a lot from her and we became good friends. She married my husband Bryan and I ,my brother Marc and his wife Sandy and my nephew Micheal and his wife Toni. Remarried Bryan and I on our twentieth. We knew her well! She will be sorely miss. Love Marilyn Doty
December 20, 2013
Cathy Borste
December 16, 2013
Dee Dee was one of the more vivid, vibrant, vital people I've ever met. She was the kind of person that made you feel good just from thinking of her.
George Berman
December 14, 2013
She was one of my favorite teachers. She was inspirational and one of the only reason I survived my three months at Meany Middle School. Years later I would continue to see her often at festival and community events. She always was the highlight of my day.
NoniShaney Cavaliere
December 2, 2013
Some say I am following in her footsteps. She was one of my favorite people! My rave name is Rainbow Swan. She has inspired my love of all things rainbow! We need more people like her in the world. She will be dearly missed but I know she is off on a great adventure!
Karma Hodges
November 29, 2013
Many good memories of Roosevelt High School friend Dee Dee. Blessings and prayers to her family and friends. She brought happiness & cheer to so many.
Pat (Pigott) Leslie
November 26, 2013
I was a student of Ms. Rainbow at Meany Middle School. She always had so much energy and a smile for everyone she encountered. I often thought, she couldn't have a bad day because everyone looked up to her. This was my thinking as an 7th and 8th grader and I felt kinda bad. But as I got older I think simply she knew what life was really about--she got it. And it wasn't a burden to be naturally energized and providing smiles @ all times. Blessings to the Family of Ms. Rainbow!
C. Nae'
November 24, 2013
Dee Dee was such a great, kind soul. I grew up in UU youth programs with Debbie, and I will always remember Dee Dee fondly. She was always her vibrant, show-stopping self, doing what she felt was true to her. So grateful to have known her.
Joanne Victoria (nee Rumsey)
November 21, 2013
Rainbow lady was a gift to all who knew and loved her. I am going to miss her.
Beth McLin
November 20, 2013
i did recall D.D. appears at events folklife, groups artist stuff and that by life off shared families & church parsons people!
Betsy Visco
November 19, 2013
She was an inspiration to artists and non-artists alike - in so many ways. The world is a lesser place in her absence.
Tom Flood
November 19, 2013
Aw my dear Gypsy (my nickname for you that you recognized some 30 years later)- I loved your spirit, visiting your home with Debbie and RR and exploring the miracles of hot and cold waters. Your influence inspired me to follow my path as much as the church and Peter did - I'm just sorry I didn't get to whisper your nickname one more time and get that sparkly smile and hug. Blessed be my friend! HP Gypsy Crow aka one of the Russell girls :)
Julia Wilder-Barnes
November 18, 2013
Our very special days in both Meany Middle School and the Philippines will never be forgotten! How could I forget your visit to my hometown Cuyapo, Philippines, where a boy literally fell in a ditch awestruck by you thinking you were the real Fairy Godmother! And the handmade unicorn cup you gave to the family! And of course, your always wonderful vibe!
Gloria Ysmael Adams
November 18, 2013
What an awesome lady. Truly lived life to the fullest, and spread love everywhere. Blessed to known her over 20 years. LIVE,LOVE, LAUGH! Who needs a red hat.
Steve Johnson
November 18, 2013
This could be a little odd for a Guestbook, but I'd like to dedicate a Song to Dee Dee. It's Lightshine by Jesse Colin Young. It's so perfect for describing what she was all about, and the message she spread. Shine on Dee Dee Rainbow !!!!!
Carmen James
November 18, 2013
A great loss for Seattle. She was a fine example of a person who lived life on her own terms. We should all be so brave.
Steve Baretich
November 18, 2013
A huge loss for Seattle. She was a great example of a person who lived life on her own terms. We can all take a lesson from her.
November 18, 2013
Mrs Raible (as I knew her) at Meany Junior High started me on my love of all things Art, and to see "art" in what others might just see as stuff. That is a very special gift from a very special lady. The Seattle Street Fair and the "rainbow world" she helped us all see will miss her. One couldn't look at her without smiling. How many people can say they affect people that way? Too few.
Carmen James
November 17, 2013
I remember her so well from many years ago when she taught art at Meany Jr High. While she was not my teacher I was impressed by her independent expression of individuality. She was was always so positive and beautiful!
Renee Marsh
November 17, 2013
Life goes on
I had her as a art teacher when I was at Meany Jr High she made accomplishing things easy.
John Ledbetter
November 17, 2013
We will miss you, Ms. Rainbow! We are sure that Mom will miss you, too. Your trip to the Philippines is part of the happy memories we have of you!
Lauren Divina
November 17, 2013
Here is a lighted candle to a person who was a light for so many
Jerry Hassenstab
November 17, 2013
I loved her at Meany, and her style inspired me to (eventually) choose my own path, rather than to follow anyone else.
Karin Lang
November 17, 2013
Ms. Rainbow's class was one of my favorites at Meany. Seeing her around Seattle was always a blessing - just as she was. She will always be remembered and loved.

- Flossie Pennington
Flossie Pennington
November 17, 2013
Well Dee Dee God wanted to bring home one of his most favorite human beings. You are now making heaven a brighter and happier place. I always enjoyed talking with you before our haircuts at Capitol Hill Hair. Take care and we will see you on the other side soon :-) <3
Thomas Barnhart
November 17, 2013
Rainbows in Heaven
November 17, 2013
Thsnk-you Dee Dee for being my mentor. I am confident heaven is glittering with your brightness. ?I recall a RISD alumni event at your Madrona home we share so many things art. Your ceramic gift to me has a place on my mantle. ? I was honored to teach at Meany and have you as a guest artist to share your work at "Careers in the Arts"
Elaine Simons
November 17, 2013
Dee Dee Rainbow was my favorite teacher of all time at Meany or anywhere else. A beautiful , loving spirit. My condolences to the family.
Victoria Reece , Ayosa
November 17, 2013
I was a student of hers at Meany. I can tell you I still can remember her purple mole she had and the glitter that adorned her daily. To a 13 year old still trying to understand the changes occurring in themselves to see ms rainbow for the first time was an impact in it self. She was a wonderful unique awesome lady and I am fortunate to have had her for a teacher and to have known even for a short time her willingness to show everyone to be themselves. She will be missed greatly.
Terri Kempf (Betts)
November 17, 2013
Yes indeed a very colorful Lady and very smart. She was a teacher in Meany in the 60's and the last time I saw her she asked "Mr. Grow how are you" and that was at least 35 years later. seattle has lost another of their iconic citizens.
michael grow
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