Jennie "Lois" Harris, 101, of Livingston, Montana, passed away, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, at Birchwood Assisted Living in Bozeman with her family by her side. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 425 West Lewis Street, Livingston. Graveside committal and burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery. A reception will follow the burial at Redeemer.
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Lois was born June 8, 1915, in Livingston, Montana, to Clarence and Rossie (Heater) Varns. She attended Livingston schools and graduated from Park High School. In a memories interview, she was asked if she had a secret that she had never told anyone. She admitted that she gave up a full math scholarship to MSU, and instead went to Butte Business College because she was in love with Lawrence Quisel who was going to college in Butte. She married Lawrence on June 22, 1935, in her parents' living room on Front Street. Prior to her marriage she worked as an accountant for Jim McCracken. When asked why she didn't continue working after her marriage, she said that in those times, women were expected to quit their jobs when they married. She used her talents and energy to become a world class duplicate bridge player, a cook who was known for her potato sweet rolls, and an excellent seamstress. She loved entertaining and making and wearing designer clothes. Up until the day she died, she wouldn't wear brown shoes with black slacks. She ran for Mrs. Montana in the l950s. She was a devoted member of the English Lutheran Church, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, and was treasurer for many years.
In 1942, she and Lawrence and their daughter, Star, moved to Richland, Washington, so Lawrence could work at the Atomic Energy Plant furthering the war effort. When they returned to Livingston in l945, they opened Western Plumbing and Heating and ran a successful business for many years. Their employees became lifelong friends. They built a home on North Fifth Street; their second child, Todd, was born shortly thereafter. Lois lived in that home for forty-seven years. Lawrence died in l961. In l963, she married Ludwig Jensen who was the manager of Livingston Creamery. They traveled to Norway several times to visit his family. Lois said they danced their way across the Atlantic Ocean on cruise ships and won first place in the Lindy Hop. Lud died in 1985.
In 1987, Lois married Dr. W. E. Harris (Doc), a family friend of forty years. After they married, they enjoyed his rural cabin and snowmobiling into their 80's. They spent their last years traveling the world. Lois counted 56 countries that she had visited, several of them to visit her daughter who lived in Asia. She and Doc were proud of their bridge playing accomplishments, and the highlight was when they entered a duplicate bridge competition in Las Vegas and placed first out of 2,000 participants. This was done while Lois was in a wheelchair recovering from a broken pelvis.
She celebrated her 90th birthday with the family at her son's yogo sapphire mine. She loved culling the washed rocks for bits of blue sapphires. To continue celebrating her 90th, she and her daughter went on a safari in South Africa. This trip began with flight delays, and after ten hours in the Frankfurt Airport and being told their luggage had been misdirected to Israel, Lois turned to Star and said, "When we get to the game park, they will tell us that all the animals have left." She took all of this adventure in stride.
Her 100th birthday was a grand celebration in Livingston with 95 friends and relatives joining Lois for dinner and a magic show. She was surprised by some of her daughter's high school friends. They reminded her of their memories of Lois cooking and laughing in her kitchen. Lois knew everyone who attended and as usual, was dressed elegantly for the occasion.
She has resided at Aspen Point and Birchwood in Bozeman for ten years. She made many friends and kept busy playing games and using her mind until the very end. She was visited often by her many surviving children and grandchildren. She was fortunate to have loving and caring step-children and grandchildren through her last two marriages. Our family is grateful to the staff at Birchwood for the attentive, loving care she received; we also thank Bozeman Deaconess Hospice for the comfort they provided mother.
Lois is survived by her children, Todd (Kathy) Quisel of Livingston and Star McGivern of Vienna, Virginia. Grandchildren, Michele (Ed) Keppler, Larry (Heather) Quisel, Ed McGivern, Shana McGivern, Kay (John) Goss; Doc's children, Dr. Stan (Debi) Harris. Greg (Pam) Harris, Kent (Lorrie) Harris, Bill (Judy) Harris Sonja Spannring, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ludwig's grandchildren, Linda (Chris) Kirkland, Vicki (Mike) Flies, Craig (Hanna) Anderson.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her 9-month old sister, Mary Frances, and step-daughters, Bernice Anderson, Kathleen Leathers, step-grandsons, Toby Harris, Tag Harris and son-in-law, Ed McGivern.
Memorials are preferred to Redeemer Lutheran Church, 425 West Lewis Street, Livingston MT, 59047.
Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory in Livingston. Online condolences may be shared at Franzen-Davis.com.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home & Crematory
118 North Third Street
Livingston, MT 59047
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 3, 2016