Laverne Rison

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Rison, Laverne

Laverne Rison passed away on May 5, 2017, just a few days after her 89th birthday. Laverne settled in Albuquerque in 1979 but had lived in Rio Rancho at the Fairwinds community for the past six years. Her family would like to express its sincere gratitude to Alliance Hospice, who cared for Laverne during her final days, and also to Fairwinds for the love and assistance they provided to this special lady throughout her residency there.

Laverne was born on April 29, 1928, in Petrolia, Texas, to Bryan and Della (Worley) Henson. She was the second youngest of six children. She endured many hardships during the Great Depression, as her family moved from place to place throughout the South in constant search of work. Adults and children alike picked cotton and labored in a canning factory in order to survive. They lived by the side of a road at one time, and later in a run-down shack that also served as a chicken coop. But Laverne said that, as a child, she never realized she was poor. The family eventually ended up in Roswell, New Mexico, where she graduated from high school.

Laverne attended New Mexico Teacher's College in Silver City where she met her future husband, Clarence (Sparks) Rison. After transferring to Highlands University, the couple was forced to move to California with their small children following a devastating fire that swept through the student housing apartments where they were living. From there, they moved to a remote Alaskan village where they taught in a two-room school before eventually ending up in Wyoming.

Laverne was an accomplished author, poet and playwright, as well as an outstanding teacher. She was also active in Democratic politics for many years and was involved in the Humanist Society of New Mexico. She was an avid bridge player for much of her life but took up poker just as enthusiastically after she moved to Fairwinds, often walking away with a few extra dollars in her pocket. She was an extraordinary woman who will be greatly missed by the friends and family she leaves behind.

Laverne was preceded in death by her parents, her five siblings, and her husband Sparks who died in 1991. She is survived by her three children, Lynette Murray and husband Frank, Susan Beard and husband Peter, and Bill Rison and wife Emma. Grandchildren are Sean Murray, Shannon Gutwein, Randy Dickson, Kevin Dickson, and Christina Rison Ruiz. Laverne was fortunate to inherit three other grandchildren through her son's marriage: Melissa Cardwell, Francesca Denton, and Carl Denton. She also leaves behind several great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Published in Albuquerque Journal on May 14, 2017