Lois Elaine Papenfus, 88

Published 9:25 am Monday, January 3, 2011

Lois Elaine Papenfus, 88, of Martinez, Calif., died Dec. 28, 2010 of lung disease.

Lois Papenfus

Born November 27, 1924 in Dover, Minnesota to Lawrence Nihart and his wife, Anna Johnson, Lois was the fourthth of eight children and the first of two daughters. Lois grew up in a small town and when attending high school in Dover, met the love of her life — Wesely Milo Papenfus. After graduation, they were married on Feb. 29, 1944, just before Wes left to serve in the Army. Lois and Wes were lifetime members of the United Methodist Church.

Lois stayed on a farm in MN where she worked for the owners – cooking and cleaning – and prepared for her first daughter – Ruth Joyce while Wes served in the Army. After Wes was discharged, he and Lois made their home in Austin, where Wes joined the police force and Lois went to work for the Hormel meat packing plant. By then they had added a second daughter – Linda Kay – to their family. Lois and Wes worked different shifts through the next 10 years at both their jobs, to ensure someone was always available for the girls. Lois was by far the best cook – but she taught Wes to make a mean cup of tomato soup! Lois was able to quit working at Hormel’s and became a full time homemaker when the family moved to a small farm south of Austin. There, Lois perfected her already incredible cooking talent. Her ability to cook without a recipe was amazing and the house was always full of homemade rolls, special cookies, home canned meats, vegetables and of course, her famous jam. That was a talent she continued to perfect her entire life and in the last few years, spent many hours teaching her daughters some of her secrets – but no one will ever match her ability to pull a feast out of the simplest ingredients.

Email newsletter signup

After the death of her beloved Wes on Jan 23, 2008 after 63 years and 11 months of marriage, she took on the task of keeping the “buddies” fed and loved watching the squirrel’s antics. She was glad when a move in February of 2010, took her and her daughter to a home with a large backyard, an abundance of squirrels and great neighbors. She often said – “Dad would have loved it here.” She shared part of every day with Wes – “talking” with him and sharing stories of their life together with her family. She often commented on being blessed with great Concord and Martinez neighbors!

Lois is survived by her daughters: Ruth Plath (Roger), Owatonna, and Linda Papenfus, Martinez, Calif.; grandchildren (children of Ruth and Dennis Plath) Kay, Tyler, Texas ; Jeffrey Plath (Elaine), Tyler, Texas; Cynthia Plath (Kyle Tani), Iraq and Washington, D.C.; and Jaime Plath, Washington D.C.; great grandchildren: Zachary and Justin Plath, Tyler, Texas; sister Margaret Condon, Lyle; brothers Kenneth, Austin; Bill (Bev), Remer; Lawrence (Betty), Babbitt; Lynn (Barb), Ely; many nieces, nephews and a host of incredible friends – who became family to her, including Jill H. and family, the Neilsons, Kathy and the Malones and all the Smiths. She was preceded in death by her husband Wesley and two brothers, Homer and Donald.

Lois was a loving, generous woman who wanted to feed everyone she met! She welcomed everyone into her home, brightened the lives of her friends and family and was the inspiration behind her daughter’s quilts. Her ready smile will stay in our hearts and keep her forever close. Safe journey, Mom – hug Dad, tell him again we love him and check his math on that rummy game!

A life celebration for Lois will be held on Saturday Jan. 15, 2011 at 11 a.m. at the Concord United Methodist Church in Concord, Calif.