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Lois Ruth Walkenhorst

Born in Mount Clemens, Michigan on January 30, 1932
Passed away on Wed. June 21, 2017 and resided in Stanwood, Washington

1932 - 2017 Lois Ruth Walkenhorst Lois Walkenhorst, age 85, unexpectedly passed away on June 21, 2017, following surgery. She was beloved, smart, funny and strong. Lois was born on January 30, 1932, the third child of Martin and Alvina Walkenhorst. She attended Trinity Lutheran School in Mount Clemens, where her father served as a teacher and principal. She attended Concordia Teacher’s College in River Forest, Illinois. After her junior year, she was asked to leave and accept a call to a Lutheran school in Texas, due to a nationwide teacher shortage. After serving there for one year, she was called as a first grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Mount Clemens, with her father as principal and teacher. Lois married Scott LaFollette in 1953 and they moved to Ann Arbor, where they became parents to two daughters. In 1960, they moved to San Jose, California where they had twins. When the marriage ended, Lois worked hard to support her four children. She often worked two jobs, and was the manager of a private club for many years in San Jose. Her beloved mother, Alvina Walkenhorst, came to live with the family and was the second parent in every way. Lois often piled her children, and sometimes their friends, into the family station wagon and drove all day, stopping to see fairs, historical sights, museums, concerts and musicals, carrying a large picnic basket and cooler on every trip. For a long time her children did not know they were pressed financially, but Lois struggled. After her children were launched, Lois went back to school at San Jose State University to complete her degree, graduating in 1986. She also traveled across the U.S. and camped at KOA sites for six months, with a trailer and her dog Bogus, in the manner of John Steinbeck and his book Travels with Charlie. After completing her student teaching at Lowell Elementary School in San Jose, Lois discovered that she wanted to focus on early learning settings and preschool aged children. Although a strong supporter of public schools, she realized that her heart and soul yearned to teach in a Lutheran setting, in order to freely proclaim the gospel and the gift of grace. She was hired by Bethel Lutheran Church in Cupertino, California, and served for many years as the Director of Preschool and Childcare. She was able to use her education and creativity in this position. As part of the curriculum, she designed a program to empower the three and four-year old children to lead weekly chapel services. At the end of each school year, she received cards and presents from the parents, including at least four or five letters from parents thanking her for changing their child’s life. She was a heartwarming and beloved teacher. She retired in 1997, and moved to Mount Vernon, Washington. After a few years of retirement, she began working again as a teacher at Camano Lutheran Childcare, which she enjoyed very much. A lifelong animal fan, she also enjoyed the drive to work, keeping track of the cows and horses along the way. Lois was particularly fond of dogs and all her dogs enjoyed a long life with her as the caretaker. She had a keen eye for color and fashion, and always dressed beautifully and kept an immaculate and beautiful home. She moved to assisted living at Josephine Caring Community in 2014 and her family is grateful for the kind and thoughtful people at Josephine. Lois was preceded in death by her parents, her brother and sister-in-law Victor and Betty Walkenhorst and brother-in-law Paul Yost. Because Lois was healthy and strong, her family is heartbroken at her loss. Lois is survived by her sister Eunice Yost, her nephews Martin (Katherine) Yost and Christopher Yost, her niece Gail (Jon) Rhine, whom she often called her fourth daughter, and nephew Mark (Cathy) Walkenhorst. Her children grieve and celebrate her life: Kimberly (Jim) Overton, Claudia LaFollette, Jennifer Coscia and David (Robbyn) LaFollette, as well as her grandchildren, Spencer LaFollette, Ryan Nichols, Francis Coscia, Noah Wagner LaFollette, Joshua Wagner LaFollette and Daniel Coscia. A funeral service will be held at Fir-Conway Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, on Saturday July 1, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.


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