Lois Jean Garland died peacefully at her home in Port Angeles, Wash., on Nov. 16, 2020, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. Members of Lois’ family, a close friend, and her dog Yoda sat with her as she took her final breath.
Born April 1, 1959, to Jean Lois (Ludgate) and Clifton Garland Jr. of Bartlett, N.H., Lois was the youngest of five children. On the day she was born, the family home burned down. Consequently, Lois grew up at the end of what is now known as Yates Farm Road, with fields unfolding on one side, mountains rising up on another, and the Saco River flowing behind her home.
As a young child, Lois was raised in a farming environment and, with three older brothers to torment her, she grew to be quietly tough and resourceful, attributes which served her well throughout her life. Her mother was the town and school librarian and her father was the custodian at Josiah Bartlett School so Lois couldn’t get away with much throughout her grammar and middle-school years.
Life was much simpler then and her life was greatly influenced by family and rural living. She participated in 4-H but wasn’t very successful with the goal of the sheep-raising program as she couldn’t bear to slaughter her bucktoothed ward she had named Aries.
Her love of animals was a big part of Lois’ persona and she took in many different kinds of animals over the years, with dogs always being a central part of her life.
As a summer job, Lois would help with the family’s business at Mountain Home Cabins and she worked at Attitash Mountain during the winter as the coat check girl, a job she inherited from her older sister Cindy.
Lois attended Kennett High School, graduating in 1977. Following graduation, she moved to Twisp, Wash., to join her husband-to-be, Donald McLane. Lo and Do, as they came to be known, had many adventures together, often spending their winters in Mexico and returning to Twisp for the summers to work in various industries. They were married in 1981 and their daughter Karissa was born in 1983, followed by Abigail in 1986. The two girls joined Erik, Donald’s son from a previous marriage, who spent much of his childhood and most of his adulthood with his sisters and Lois and Donald.
Lois was devoted to her children and to the concept of raising conscientious humans who conduct themselves with integrity. She balanced child rearing with many activities and traveled east annually to visit her family and to give her children the opportunity to get to know their east coast relatives. She and Donald continued to sojourn to Mexico with the girls for the cold months up until their daughters were of the age to begin school.
Lois carried quite a mental treasury of tales and adventures from their many cross-country trips, experiences navigating a different culture, as well as occurrences in their own backyard. She would recite them in her slow, deliberate manner with spot-on interjections of mimicking one person or another, accompanied by raised or furrowed eyebrows and other facial contortions.
Lois was an exceptional guide for her daughters, the result being two amazingly independent and socially responsible women. They, in turn, have produced the next generation of ethical humans. Lois’ greatest joy was her grandchildren.
She gained immense pleasure in acquiring objects that would delight and entertain any child. She tirelessly read books with a child on her lap and promoted acts of consideration and kindness. Her grandchildren’s experience on this Earth was largely enhanced by Lois’ energy and they will continue to channel that energy through their “Spirit Booth,” constructed by Lois’ son-in-law, Rob Thomsen.
Lois had many feathers in her cap. She worked as a painter and woodworker on construction sites. She worked with a landscaper. She harvested baby’s breath. She worked as a server and then owned the Glover St. Cafe in Twisp with three other women. Most of these employments were initiated and supported by women, a practice solidly corroborated by Lois.
She and Donald worked at developing cooperative games as Lois pursued her quest of encouraging equity and empathy. Continuing in that spirit, Lois was a champion of children’s rights and the rights of the underserved.
She worked for several years as the family empowerment specialist, serving grades K-12 for the Methow Valley School District where she helped at risk students and their families to enable the student’s academic and social success. She was the Methow Valley Homeless Liaison, advocating for students whose basic needs were in jeopardy. She taught peer mediation to students in grades 7-12, helping them learn the necessary skills to help their classmates resolve problems with empathy and respect.
She founded the Twisp Teen Center, giving kids a safe and fun place to gather, as well as having served on the boards for the Methow Rec and the Methow Teen Center. Her home was often littered with teens’ sleeping bags on the weekends and she worked quietly yet persistently to unearth the resources necessary to help children of all ages.
She touched the lives of many. Whether it was to give them a refuge in her office with her entertaining array of toys or finding a way for them to play sports, or determining the safest bathroom for them to use at school, Lois was a figure of comfort and dependability.
Lois had interests in many areas and had tried her hand at such things as beekeeping and dog training. She was an avid reader, loved the arts and felt a great kinship to the earth and encouraging things to grow, particularly her flowers. She greatly enjoyed her blooms and found great solace in her gardens, especially over the past few summers while going through treatment.
She was a source of widely varied and little-known bits of interesting knowledge. You could always plan on having an engaging conversation with Lois but you had better be prepared for it to last at least an hour or two. Always well worth it.
During the process of her disease, she was often concerned that she was being an inconvenience to others, an unfounded worry as she maintained her independence throughout her illness. She was tough right up to the last, not giving cancer the satisfaction of knocking her down.
At one point in her treatment, she was getting a lumbar puncture and the technician commented on how well she tolerated it. She drolly replied that she’d had a lot of bee stings. That’s how Lois was; she persevered and tried to find solutions.
She tried everything but eventually the cancer consumed her body but not her soul. Her spirit was fierce right up to the end. She was well respected and well loved. She was beautiful and strong and smart. And she was too young. We love her and we miss her.
So many were supportive to Lois during her journey but it would be remiss not to mention her daughters, Karissa and Abi, and their respective spouses, John and Rob, who provided unlimited care and support. Her sister Cindy devoted months to Lois’ care and Lois’ fellow parents-in-law were also a steady source of loving assistance. Friends and family came and went as they could.
Amazingly, Lois kept a fairly accurate record of her own medications and the comings and goings of visitors. She was always cognizant of the needs of others and was renowned for her hospitable style, often preparing meals that satisfied the soul and always conversation that did likewise.
Continually looking for a way to give back, Lois chose to pursue this concept when it came to deciding what to do with her remains. Recompose.life offers a process that was legalized in Washington state as of May of 2020. NOR, or natural organic reduction, is the contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil. Those who wish to receive a portion of the soil can benefit from Lois’ energy in their garden or potted plant.
Lois was predeceased by her parents, Jean and Clifton, and many, many well loved dogs.
She is survived by her daughters, Karissa (John Hagen) and granddaughters Eleanor Jean and Mabel Lois of Port Angeles, Wash.; Abi (Robert Thomsen) and grandsons McLane Garland and John Spencer of Tacoma, Wash.; her dog Yoda; sister Cynthia Dore (Steve) of San Antonio, Texas; bothers Clifton, Douglas (Vicki), and John Henry (Dianne Hayes) of Bartlett, N.H.; goddaughters Zoey Garner of Spokane, Wash. and Sammy Laskey of Twisp, Wash.; stepson Erik McLane and former husband, Donald McLane, of Twisp; and many, many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Donations in Lois’ name may be made to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for pancreatic cancer research (seattlecca.org); or to The Cove, providing food assistance to residents of the Methow Valley (thecovecares.com; The Cove, P.O. Box 895, Twisp, WA 98856).
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, celebrations of life will be held in both Twisp and Bartlett at a later date when we are able to give each other real hugs.
In keeping with Lois’ determined efforts for peace and fairness, please take some time to absorb the warmth, whether it’s from the sun on your face, a mug of tea in your hands, or a loved one’s presence; enjoy the vibrant color of a favorite flower, a sunset, or a friend’s aura; quiet the angry noise and embrace the good.
She is gone from this world but never from our hearts and minds.