Lois Ilene Renken
July 21, 1933 – May 17, 2020
Lois Ilene Elizabeth Renken -
Lois Ilene Elizabeth Renken, 86, of Odessa, WA., and a former Ephrata, WA. resident passed away on Sunday, May 17th at her home with her family by her side. It was a bright sunny morning in Kellogg, Id. on July 21, 1933 when Lois Ilene came into the world greeted by her parents David and Elizabeth Rolly and her 5 siblings, Victor, Virginia, Gloria, Erna and David. The small mining town of Wardner, Id. was residence for the family until the passing of Elizabeth in 1937. Due to the grueling toils of mining, David was unable to care for the two youngest children. So David and Lois were sent to the Kellogg orphanage. After residing there for one year, at the age of 5, Esther E. and Mark G. Owen adopted Lois. Mark and Esther were childless and Esther was a niece to David, Lois’s father. The young couple took Lois to live with them in Spokane, WA. Mark and Esther always made sure that Lois had contact with her sisters and brothers. Many miles were covered between Kellogg and Spokane to keep the family in contact with their baby sister and her older siblings. Mark and Esther raised Lois as their own. Being their only child, she flourished in their love. Kindergarten at Dishman Elementary School brought new dresses and shiny black patent leather shoes. Lois always had a sparkle in her eye and made friends with everyone. Mark and Esther introduced Lois Ilene to Christ by sending her to Sunday School at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA. At 86 she still remembered running through the alfalfa fields to Sunday School with change in her hanky for tithe and her brand-new bible. Her Bible to this day has her dog Chubby’s foot prints in it from accidently dropping it in the fields and Chubby walking all over it. Adventures moving around in Spokane over the next 8 years included living in a one room school house, picking up change with her cousin Judy on Sunday mornings at the Sunset Garden Nightclub that Mark and Esther managed. Sitting on her Grandma Rolly’s porch watching the military men walk by on their way to Natatorium Park. At the age of 11 she remembered riding her bike with Barbara Corey down by Fairmont Cemetery checking out the German Officer captives from WWll as they were caretaking the Cemetery and Hospital down by Spokane’s Bowl and Pitcher. After Mark retired from the Spokane Fire Department, the family settled into the Columbia Basin. Lois’s life was full of love, family, and numerous adventures. Huckleberry picking at the Rolly homestead by Addy, WA , carrying the fish basket and passing the worms, ironing sheets for the fire crew at Larson Air Force Base for a penny a sheet and if they weren’t done right Esther made her iron them over again! Lois finished her senior year in 1951 at Ephrata High School. After graduating she was walking by the Bell Telephone Company Office in downtown Ephrata and decided to apply for a job as an operator. She was hired and she spent the next 27 years working as a telephone operator and the last 5 years cleaning small offices for the company. Lois had true grit. Being a telephone operator for all of those years then having to decide to move, quit, or find another job with the company due to the divestiture. She decided that moving wasn’t an option, quitting wasn’t an option so she became a custodian for US West. She moved ladders, replaced florescent light bulbs, mopped floors, mowed lawns, cleaned toilets and baked cookies for the lineman. Year round, rain, sleet, ice, snow it didn’t matter. Her work ethic made her persevere and she retired with a full pension of 33 years. In 1952, Lois met the love of her life. Ronald L. Renken was stationed at Larson Air Force Base as a fireman. A blind date set up by her cousin Chet ended up with 57 years of marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. For 57 years, their love of Christ was always in their hearts and in their teachings. After Ron retired from the City of Ephrata Fire Department, Ron and Lois moved to Odessa, WA. When Ron’s health started to decline Lois was right there, caring for him at home until it became to hard to get him in and out of bed or his chair. She moved Ron to the Odessa Nursing Home but every day she would she bring him home. When evening would set, she would load him back into the car with all of his needs and take him back to the nursing home. Lois got so involved with the Odessa Hospital Nursing Home she was nominated and won Washington States Support Person of the Year award. She loved everyone at that facility. She greeted them all with a warm caring smile and a self-less willingness to make all of their lives a little brighter. Now adventures, what can we say. Lois was always ready to go anywhere and almost do anything. She loved the ocean! Well, she loved the ocean but she also loved the casinos at the ocean. Actually, she loved all casinos. Buying a trailer and traveling with Ron was a dream come true for both of them. Going to Conconully, WA, opening fishing season with family and friends was a yearly adventure. They would be found often sitting at the Sit-n-Bull tavern solving all the problems of the world. Mom never turned down a chance to have a good drink (or bad) with family and friends. Sitting with her blessed son and sons-in-laws, who loved her as their own was the highlight of their days. Lois was always there. Playing pinochle for hours with her family and friends, Chicken Foot, Mexican Dominos, Polish Poker surrounded with her beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren. After Ron’s passing in 2009, she went with her family and friends to Hawaii (twice), Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Disneyland, Phoenix, Quartzite, San Francisco, The New England States, Novia Scotia, many “Nelson Family Reunions” and numerous trips back to Minnesota antiquing. Ron’s sister, Bee Porter, was “her sister”. They traveled with family to flea markets in Sumpter, OR and Packwood, WA. Trips to St. Regis flea market in Montana and many trips back to the Mid-West to find that treasure of all treasures to sit in her china hutch or on her window sill. One of her most favorite trips was to Phillipsburg, Montana. She took her three daughters and stayed in one of the old hotels there and finally got to see “That Candy Shop” that was always being advertised on TV. As we have stated before, Lois was friends to everyone. Trying to stop her from rolling down her window at a stop sign to tell the driver next to her how “cute his puppy is” much to the chagrin of her son-in-law was not possible. Visiting with an older woman in a jewelry shop for a minute or two in Hawaii, commenting about her walking stick (never call it a cane) that looked just like hers. Then realizing after one of her daughters came up and told her that she was talking to herself in a full-length mirror, oh my, that was funny. When she was too tired to walk, she would sit and watch people. She attracted people of all ages. A little boy waiting for his mom to purchase an antique, a lonely woman breaking up with her husband, sitting on a bus in Hawaii and making life friends with the couple from New Zealand. Her kind face, her gentle and precious actions, told the world she was safe and someone who would listen. Lois is a charter member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Ephrata, WA, and Charter member of the Telephone Pioneers. She was actively involved in Moses Lake Grange #971, the Ephrata Buzzin Dozen and Our Saviors Lutheran Church Choir. In Odessa she enjoyed the Odessa Senior Group Prime Timers, Woman’s Group at Christ Lutheran, playing Bunco and Pinochle with “her lady friends” and volunteering for the Odessa Deutschesfest. Ron and Lois volunteered many years for U.S.F.S. as a Camp Ground Host. Lois is survived by her children, Diane (Ron) Nelson of Sagle, grandchildren Aaron (Aimee) and HaLee (Colley), Linda (Gary) Boyd of Ephrata, grandchildren Steven (Brandy), Jason (Vanessa), and Kevin (Brianne), Ronald (Camille) Renken of Ephrata, grandchildren Jeremy (Becky), Ryan (Erin), Michelle and Kelly (Ashley), Christine (Bill) Crossley of Odessa, grandchildren Easton, Kolby (Alyssa) and Kassidy. She has 20 great grandchildren and numerus cousins, nephews and nieces. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were the joy of her life and they all will remember her with love. She is also survived by Ron’s beloved brother and sister, Elton Renken of Ephrata, WA and Bee (Dan) Porter of Yelm, WA. Lois was preceded in death by her husband Ron, by her parents and two brothers and three sisters and one great grandson. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date due to the restrictions of the virus. Lois wanted a big funeral, she loved everyone. She picked out her songs and will be smiling in heaven when she sees us kids followed through with this last request. Anything for you mom, may you be free of pain, be with the ones you loved and enjoy all of God’s flowers. Memorials can be made to the Odessa Fire Department, Christ Lutheran Campership Fund for Children to attend Camp Lutherhaven, or Odessa Friends of the Pool. Strate Funeral Home of Davenport, WA is in charge of arrangements
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Lois Ilene Renken
June 14, 2020
Aunt Lois was the best. I always remember her abiding faith in God and her beautiful smile. I was heartbroken when she and my Uncle Ron passed. I know that her life gave joy and meaning to all those she touched. God is enjoying her and Ron both now. God Bless the family left here to wait to meet them both again. Love you all, Connie Wade
June 13, 2020
Lois was beautiful inside and out. She was devoted to her husband, Ron who was one of our residents at OMHC. Lois was inspirational to everyone and would light up the room with her presence and laughter. She would greet everyone she met with a warm smile and a hug. Lois helped to make our care center a home. She was one of the most selfless and giving women I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to know. I am blessed to have been her friend. Lois is in Heaven watching over us. Rest in eternal peace dear sweet lady ❤️
June 12, 2020
Lois was one of the most amazing and beautiful women I have had the pleasure of knowing! Her warm smile always lit up every room she walked into! You will be missed Lois!
June 12, 2020
I WILL MISS HAVING LOIS AROUND AND IN CHURCH BUT SHE IS IN A GOOD PLACE CALLED HEAVEN NOW AND SHE LIKED WHEN I HELPED HER OUT OF THE CHURCH ON SUNDAY MORNINGS OR OPENED THE DOOR WHEN SHE GOT TO CHURCH OR TO THROW HER COOKIE/COFFEE STUFF IN THE TRASH
May 19, 2020
What a Wonderful Lady and Beautiful Person. You will be truly missed. You always had a beautiful smile and kind word for everyone. Now you can smile with God and the angels.