Lois June Hansen Freeman was born to Dagmar (nee Klemmetsen) and Louis Hansen on June 21, 1926, in Eureka, California. Both Norwegian immigrants, Dagmar came to Eureka from Oslo through Ellis Island, joining family to work in an aunt’s hotel, and Louis landed in Eureka after going to sea at age 14 from his hometown of Frevald, working aboard merchant clipper ships around the world. Their independent and adventurous spirits were vividly expressed in their daughter Lois, who remained adventurous and independent to her final days.
Lois enjoyed growing up in the midst of a close-knit Scandinavian American circle. Her parents were charter members of Calvary Lutheran Church and Sons of Norway Fram Lodge 13, and Lois maintained her active membership in both up to the time of her passing. Lois was educated in Eureka schools and was an Honor graduate from Eureka High School in 1944, recognized for her accordion playing, band and orchestra membership, and leadership in Girls League. In December, 1944, Lois was married to James Hawes Freeman, a naval seaman from Kansas who was stationed in McKinleyville. Lois and Jim were blessed with three children: James Thomas (Jay) in 1947 and Thomas Louis, in 1949, both born in Eureka, and Sue Kristine, born while the family lived in Milan, Kansas, in 1952.
Married life carried Lois away from the North Coast for brief times in San Diego and Alameda, Astoria and Milan, Kansas, but from 1956 to the present she was a proud and active citizen of her hometown. During her career as a medical assistant, she worked for several different medical practices, retiring from the practice of ophthalmologist Dr. George Inghram. She was a member of the California Medical Assistants Association, and held a life credential to provide instruction at California Community Colleges in the area of Health and Physical Care Services and Related Technologies. She was a 55 year member of Quota International, serving as California State Governor among other leadership roles, and was both a Valentine Queen and Quotarian of the Year. Lois was also a life member of Beta Sigma Phi and a member of PEO. She also served her community through participation in Relay for Life and was awarded a gold medal for meritorious service to the American Heart Association. The members of these organizations have been among Lois’s closest and dearest friends.
The happiest times in Lois’s life always centered around family. She and her favorite cousin, Don Wall, hosted an annual Christmas party, which featured authentic Norwegian treats, excluding lutefisk. She was thrilled when her 70th, 80th, and 90th birthdays were the occasions for family reunions, drawing attendees to the 5th generation.She also loved travel, and her family and her civic organizations gave her many opportunities to do just that. As Quota International California state governor, she traveled to Australia. Son Tom’s tenure teaching in Germany for the US Army allowed her to travel extensively in Europe, including celebrating her 60th birthday in Norway and visiting her parents’ birthplaces. Daughter Sue relocated to the greater Portland, Oregon, area, and Lois enjoyed so many outings exploring the Pacific Northwest with that extended family, and Portland was frequently the jumping off point for trips to Calgary to visit cousin Don. Then there were the annual trips south to Sacramento to see son Jay and family and soak up the fabulous music at the Sacramento Jazz festivals. Further down the valley, Modesto was another frequent destination to see son Tom and his extended family. Frequent flyer miles were logged for trips to Houston (grandson Erik and family), New Orleans (bucket list), and Miami (Super Bowl XXIII). She also had the time of her life on an Alaskan cruise, observing that she might think about becoming one of those little old ladies who perpetually cruise around the world, being pampered and fed like royalty. And in every place she visited, those with whom she came in contact were instantly drawn to her vivacious personality, forming a “Lois Fan Club,” as it were.
Lois was predeceased by her parents, her brother and his wife Thomas and Dorothy Hansen, long-time educators in Eureka, and her son Jay. She is survived by son Tom (Janice) of Modesto, daughter Sue of Damascus, Ore., daughter-in-law, Mollie of Sacramento, and many beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great- great-grandchildren.
Faith was centermost in Lois’s life, and while she missed having family near, she steadfastly leaned on the presence of her best friend, Jesus. Many times she reassured family and friends that she never felt alone because Jesus was always with her. It’s no coincidence that recently she shared with Pastor Pat Higgins that her favorite hymn was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Lois strutted into the arms of her friend Jesus on Friday, June 26, in Eureka, with son Tom at her side and to the strains of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Due to COVID-19, the memorial service for Lois will be postponed until it can be held safely at her church home, Calvary Lutheran, with all her family and fan club members in attendance. Afterwards, we will have a real Dixieland Jazz celebration to honor her, because there was nothing she loved more than a good party!
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Lois Freeman’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.