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Nina Mae Kanton
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Obituary for Nina Mae Kanton

Remembering Nina

Nina was born in Dawson, Missouri on April 5th, 1921 to Milton and Lizzie Iona Mae Hopkins. They moved to Baker, OR when Nina was 9 months old. She went to grade school in Baker, OR and attended high school in LaGrande and Portland, OR. At the age of 12 her father was murdered and she started taking on responsibility to help her mother. She has told us stories about scrubbing the wooden floors with a broom and making dressers out of apple boxes, chopping the wood, building the fires with coal oil, did ironing with the old fashion flat irons and for lights you carried a coal oil lamp from room to room and when water is needed you take the bucket outside and first prime the well and then pump away.

At age 15 she started working in restaurants wherever she went and continued in the food business until retirement from the Army & Airforce Exchange services on 30 June 1973. She started as a bus girl for $0.54 per hour and within 2 years went into management and food supervisor, for the remaining 20 years.

While living in Portland she met and married John Charboneau in 1941 – divorced in 1952. They had four children, Sharon, John, Jimmie and Jeffrey. John left for duty in WWII and while he was overseas Nina traveled to Spanaway, WA and bought property with a service station and three small houses. In time they turned one of the houses into a restaurant called ‘Do-Duck-Inn’. It’s ready to open now but no money to buy food. Weeks later she was cleaning out her cedar chest and there was an envelope with $75.00 in it. Needless to say “Restaurant Open”!!

On Nov 27, 1954 Nina married Nicholas Kanton (they were married 49 years before his passing on February 6, 2003). Soon they bought the 56 acre farm in Roy, WA and while both worked full time jobs they started building a home as the barn was the only building on the property. Adding a steer now and then until they raised 80 to 100 head each year. The farm was exciting, lots of hard work and a huge book of knowledge, a paradise to raise a family and for the grandchildren to visit or spend their summers. Sold the farm and enjoyed many great years at Sekiu, WA in a beautiful home right on the water.

Because Nick needed to be closer to the doctors and hospitals they returned to Roy and built their new home which Nick got to enjoy for over 2 years and Nina continued to live there. In the summer of 2007 Nina moved to Vaughn, WA to live on Jeffrey and Jeanette’s property in a little cottage which was beautifully and completely refurbished overlooking a huge pond with all the privacy, quietness and all of nature’s beauty.

Nina was the rock of the family blessed with good health and described as a very spirited strong willed person, independent, ambitious, thrifty and active. Could be labeled as a ‘tom-boy’ when younger, she was caring and giving to others in a constructive way. She enjoyed people and loved to dance, laugh and play cards. She also enjoyed challenges, one of being president of Elk Plain voluntary fire department auxiliary and president of Elk Plain teachers association and president of Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club, which was one of her hobbies for over 30 years. She has boxes of trash and treasures she has dug up while metal detecting. Her favorite sport was deer hunting, especially the years she could ride her Honda motorbike on the trails. At age 93 was the last time we took her hunting but with restriction as to where she could go.

Nina is survived by her children Sharon Kelly of Trenton, MI; John (Jeanette) Charboneau of Ellensburg, WA; Jimmie (Julie) Charboneau and Jeffrey Charboneau both of Gig Harbor, WA, step son Nicholas Kanton of Roy, WA. 13 remaining grandchildren; 26 great grandchildren and 6 great great grandchildren. Nieces, nephews, 1 sister in Washington State and 1 half-brother in Oregon.

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Previous Events





4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Fir Lane Memorial Park & Funeral Home

924 E. 176th. St.
Spanaway, WA 98387

chapel service




1:00 PM
Fir Lane Memorial Park & Funeral Home

924 E. 176th. St.
Spanaway, WA 98387

Graveside service to follow

Cemetery Details


Fir Lane Memorial Park & Funeral Home

924 E. 176th. St.
Spanaway, WA 98387


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