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Lois (Saulsman) McKenzie

September 7, 1928 February 16, 2017
Lois (Saulsman) McKenzie
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Obituary for Lois (Saulsman) McKenzie

Lois was born in Vacaville, California, to Clarence S. and Lois May (Wilson) Saulsman, the second of five children. The family struggled during the depression, and with financial difficulties throughout the Thirties. In her early teens, Lois was sent to live with her grandparents in the small community of Coalfield, near Renton, Washington. She worked on their turkey farm and did babysitting to earn a little money while attending Issaquah High School. In 1946 she married David Vredevelt, a high school boyfriend that had been recently been discharged from the Navy at the close of WWII. They had two sons, James and Stephen, and were divorced 1951. Lois married Edgar McKenzie, November 1952, and they lived in the Lynnwood area, north of Seattle. Lois had an active life, working side by side with Edgar building houses, later put her knowledge and experience to good use in 1965 when she began working at Coast to Coast hardware in Kirkland WA. She was active in church and had attended Halls Lake Nazarene, a Free Methodist, and the Lynnwood Evangelical Methodist churches. She served various roles, most often as Sunday School teacher and Board member, occasionally as a Soloist. Lois was one of the early founders of the Sonshine Society, a group that brought church services and music to area nursing homes. She also helped develop the large-print songbooks for the residents to use. The music often included Herman Haakenson with guitar and vocals, Edgar playing the organ with Lois joining the singing. Her interests were many, including ceramics, gardening and creative writing. She worked with a writing group to collect and publish a history of the Meadowdale community near Edmonds WA. She and Edgar worked together building the McKenzie Apartments in Lynnwood, an ambitious project which included twelve apartments and a master house that also served as their residence. Later, the sale of the apartments and house provided retirement income. In 1984 they moved to Vallejo, California, so that Edgar might be closer to his family. Edgar passed away in 1990 and she remained in Vallejo. A few years following the death of Edgar, Lois became very much involved with Meals on Wheels, and spent 14 years donating more than 10,000 hours service and over 50,000 miles on her car. She retired from MOW in 2007 at age 78, after receiving a number of awards and honors. These included recognition of her volunteer service by the City of Vallejo, the California State Senate, and the United States Congress. In 2007 she was also nominated for Grand Marshal of the Vallejo July 4th Parade. During this period, Lois met a widower that lived a couple houses away, and she very much enjoyed the friendship of her neighbor, Jim Roberts. They often shared meals that she had prepared, and he was pleased to spoil her a bit with expensive restaurants and a couple trips to Reno. His timid, feral cat Baby eventually came to accept Lois and became a companion to her after Jims passing. Although he desired it to be more, it was a platonic relationship that remained strong until his death. Lois remained independent and enjoyed working in her vegetable garden and sharing her crops with others, and had a reputation for the best tomatoes in town. She had a great affection for the pastor and people of the Jesus Risen Lord Alliance Fellowship, a Philippine church in American Canyon CA, and attended regularly until physically unable. In her later years it became apparent she was no longer physically able to keep house. Meals and shopping were a problem, as was managing her medications. She was having serious difficulty safely navigating city streets and California traffic in her car. Following two incidents it was clear that she would be unable to pass the required California driving test and for her own safety, and for others, her car limped away to a new home. In 2015 Lois moved to an assisted living residence a few miles from her oldest son, James, in Spokane Washington. She much enjoyed the friendship and attention she received from the staff and the other residents at Brookdale on South Regal, and was especially fond of their Friday Social Hour with snacks and live music. She is survived by her younger brother Gerald (Saulsman), and sister Irene (Craigen), sons James and Stephen, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Donations on her behalf will be gratefully accepted by your local Meals on Wheels.
Photos of Lois available on Facebook of Julia Malmoe Mckenzie

Community Cremation & Funeral Spokane Valley
13127 E. Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99216, (509)926-2020


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