Lois Chamberlin Early Sunday morning, June 10, 2012 Lois Chamberlin peacefully left this world surrounded by her children Tom Chamberlin Jr., Suzy Ward and Sally Bird. Thanks to Kaweah Delta Hospice, Lois was at home in her own bed. Her husband Tom Chamberlin proceeded her in death just three years ago. Though many people always referred to Lois in partner with her husband, Tom, she was unmistakably her own women. She once told one of her grandchildren, "I am a feminist, I send money to Planned Parenthood and your grandfather doesn't know it." She was full of surprises like that. Though her activities were at times limited by her hearing loss, she managed to fill her life with acts of generosity and gifts of hospitality to strangers, family and friends. Born September 25, 1924 in Los Angeles, California, she graduated from Visalia Union High School (currently Redwood High School) in 1942. She was accepted to the UC nursing program at Berkeley, but was not allowed to complete the program when it was discovered she was deaf. She learned to read lips and said sometimes she found out more than she wanted to know. After raising her family she went back to COS and earned her AA Degree in 1965. She then went to work for United California Bank which eventually became Wells Fargo. She retired after 17 years. A closet concert singer, who never sang in a choir, she could always be heard singing around the house to brighten the day. When family or friends were leaving she would often break into the song from The Sound of Music, "So long farewell." On a couple of occasions her renditions of Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday were even posted on YouTube. She was an excellent cook and her chocolate sheet cake was legendary. The cake was a cross between cake and fudge. She cut it into small pieces so you wouldn't feel guilty about indulging. Nobody could ever stop with just one piece. Lois always remembered growing up during and after the depression. She often said "we didn't know we were poor, everyone we knew was in the same boat". It was this experience which lead her to believe that she should share some of her blessings and good fortune with others. For many years she was a member of the local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, where she enjoyed meeting and working with other women. She was an active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church since her returned to Visalia in 1957. She is fondly remembered by many because of her hard work to help organize the many items that were brought in for the annual church rummage sale. Her coworkers also loved the chocolate cake and other treats she always brought. She often volunteered with others from church to help prepare food at what was then known as Sister Ursula's Kitchen (now the Bethlehem Center). An excellent seamstress, she loved to give new life to dolls and stuffed animals. She would wash and clean the stuffed animals and sew new clothes for the dolls then donate the restored items to different organizations. She believed in supporting Visalia Emergency Aide. If she read that there were not enough holiday turkeys for their holiday food bags for needy families, she would get her husband or one of her children to go to the grocery store to buy a few more. Lois and Tom were married for over 65 years. She and T.O., as she always called him, enjoyed attending the "After-hour" events hosted by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce. Tom and Lois always made a striking pair. He dressed in a suit and tie and she simply and elegantly dressed in clothes she had probably found at the church rummage sale. They were also known as one of the luckiest couples because they frequently brought home one of the door prizes. Lois loved to travel and she and her husband made several trips abroad for work and with friends. Their last, great trip was a the first trade mission to China sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Though it was a bit of a struggle for Tom, Lois kept up and didn't miss a single part of the trip. She will be remembered as a wonderful grandmother by her four grandchildren, James and Jon-Ethan Ward and Peter and Jamie Bird. Her many nieces and nephews, and their children, remember her fondly for the many cards and notes she loved to send. An Episcopal Memorial Service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, June 30. The service will be at 1039 S. Chinowth. Instead of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to Kaweah Delta Hospice 900 W. Oak Ave. Visalia Ca. 93291 or Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Fresno Regional Office, 633 North Van Ness, Fresno, CA 93728. Arrangments by Miller Memorial Chapel.
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Published in Visalia Times-Delta on June 28, 2012