Besse "Gwen" Gwendolyn Sorensen

March 16, 1923August 24, 2020

Besse Gwendolyn Sorensen passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday, August 24, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19.

Born March 16, 1923, in Kansas City, Kansas, Gwen was the only child of A.R. and Ethel B. Paine. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1945 with a degree in Psychology.

After marrying Don Sorensen in 1945, they moved to Eugene, Oregon where they had their first son, Steve. They returned to Kansas to care for Gwen’s parents, where two other sons, Ed and Gordon, were born. Gwen and Don had a deeply loving marriage lasting 60 years. She was Don’s devoted caregiver, sparing nothing for his comfort, from 1999 until his death in 2006. The family returned to Oregon in 1971. Gwen was extremely happy to be in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoyed telling others how God opened doors to bring them here. She loved her home, and one of her greatest pleasures was entertaining groups of people there.

As a devout Christian, Gwen’s highest priorities were in serving the Lord, and being a devoted wife and mother. She felt God’s protection her entire life in ways great and small, including several medical issues and surviving two serious car accidents. She was very active in each church she attended, whether as a women’s Bible study leader, or serving as a member of the church choir and pianist and organist as she did for decades.

As a committed stay-at-home mom for many years, she created a loving home where anyone was welcome. She also was active in community volunteer efforts and various Parent Teacher Associations. With the addition of grandchildren, she was a dedicated and loving grandmother, being closely involved in many of their lives and taking every opportunity to share God’s message with them. Gwen also worked for 15 years for the Bonneville Power Administration, retiring in 1991.

In retirement, Gwen and Don enjoyed trips to Denmark, England, the Panama Canal, cruises to Alaska, visiting their grandchildren, meeting friends for coffee, Bible study and entertaining.

Gwen was gracious, humble, and always ready to brighten someone’s day with a warm smile. Her generous spirit and kind heart were available for all. These memories live on with her family.

She is survived and will be greatly missed by her sons Steve, Ed, and Gordon (Amber); her 8 grandchildren – Ryan, Lauren, Jordan, Danielle, Dylan, Bella, Sean, and Sophie; and her great-grandson, Oliver.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Union Gospel Mission.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Sorensen family.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Besse "Gwen" Gwendolyn Sorensen

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