Lola J. Reed, 92, died at 8:58 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2019, at Rockwood Retirement-Hawthorne in Spokane.
She was born April 29, 1926, in Gregory, South Dakota, the only daughter of Stanley and Orpha (Messick) Rosser. Lola had two older brothers, Jim and Bob, who died some years ago in, respectively, Phoenix, AZ, and Beaverton, OR. Lola remembered the year-round moaning sound of the wind in South Dakota. In 1933, when she was 7, the family moved (in a horse-drawn wagon that was captured in a Denver Post news article photo) first to Oklahoma (via the Black Hills, Wyoming, and Colorado) and then, in late 1935, traveling in a Model T truck, to southern Arizona where Lola grew up, first in Higley and then in Gila Bend. Lola attended North Phoenix H.S. (graduating in 1945), worked at Western Union, and eventually, in 1947, took a bus to mile-high and cooler Denver.
She met Robert H. Reed at a Denver square dance. He had been a B-17 pilot in England during the war. They were married on March 20, 1949, at the University of Denver Chapel. Both Lola and Bob graduated from the university and planned to become school teachers, but, with the outbreak of the Korean War, Bob was recalled and posted to Clark AFB in the Philippines. Lola followed him on a ship across the Pacific with her first baby, Michael. Lola was eventually the mother of four children, Michael Charles, Rebecca Ann (died in 2008, age 55), Wesley Rosser, and Janet Lynn Reed.
Over the years the growing Reed family lived in the Philippines and then in East Lansing, Mich., Savannah, Ga., Anchorage, Ak., Colorado Springs, Co., and then finally back to Anchorage in 1968 when Bob retired from the military. Lola focused on raising her family until the mid-1960s when she finally became a classroom teacher. Lola and Bob were divorced in 1973. Lola remained in Anchorage for many years where she was active as a classroom teacher and a reading specialist. She also became passionately involved (through the schizophrenia of her daughter, Becky) in the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In 2004, age 77, she moved from Anchorage to Spokane, Wash., to be closer to family.
Her final years were spent at Rockwood Hawthorne in northern Spokane where she first, for several years, had her own condo, then moved into a small apartment, and finally into hospice care. She was for many years an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane. She is survived by three children, Michael (Vicksburg, Mich.), Wesley (Spokane, Wash.), and Janet (Pittsburgh, Penn.); four grandchildren, Diana (Josh) Carlen of Colville, Wash,, Kevin (Kate) Reed of Spokane, Wash., Rachel Reed of Portage, Mich., and Maureen Reed of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and seven great-grandchildren, ages eight years to four months, including Josiah, Toby, Raya, Gideon, Ward, and Weston Carlen and Jenna Reed.
In her final months, Lola was fond of black breakfast coffee in the lively Rockwood dining room and watching Rachel Maddow in the evening. She will be remembered as a loving and no-nonsense woman (always a child of the Dust-Bowl, which she wrote about in her 2009 essay, “Memories of Growing Up a Child of the Great Depression”), mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend who lived life fully and with (sometimes tested) hope and optimism.
Lola’s remains will be cremated; interment of the ashes will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane.
There will be a memorial service in the chapel at Rockwood-Hawthorne, 101 E. Hawthorne Rd., Spokane, Wash. 99218, on Thursday, April 25, at 2 pm. Because of limited seating at the small chapel, the family asks that you contact Lola’s son, Wes Reed, at (509) 279-4113, before making plans to attend the service. Chaplain Brad Buff will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations can go to NAMI Spokane in remembrance.
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