Lydia Jane Gilmore, 92, passed away of leukemia at her home in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, on Monday, September 24, 2018, under hospice care, and with her son present. Her funeral will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, October 13 at the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater, followed by burial in the Weston Cemetery, and a reception at the First Christian Church, 518 S. Main St., in Milton). Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.
For those wishing to make memorial donations in lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made through the funeral home or directly to Oregon Talking Book & Braille Library, Oregon State Library, 250 Winter Street N.E., Salem, OR 97301.
Lydia was born January 7, 1926, in Soldier, a rural neighborhood near Fairfield in Camas County, Idaho, to Katherine Ethel (Wardrop) and Claud Emery Wallan. She was the middle of three children. Through the eighth grade she attended a one-room school in Soldier, then graduated from Fairfield High School in 1944. In an academic competition Lydia won a one-year scholarship to the College of Idaho in Caldwell, but lacked money to continue past her freshman year.
Lydia first came to Milton-Freewater in 1944 seeking summer employment, and returned in 1945 together with her close childhood friend, Mary Ruth Bayles (later Mrs. Tom Cowgill), to work at the old Blue Goose Fruit Packing Plant. They both soon met returning World War II veterans, and Lydia Wallan married Neil Herndon Gilmore at Lewiston, Idaho, on September 18, 1946. Their union resulted in a son and three daughters.
In the early 1960s Lydia resumed employment outside the home as a seasonal production worker for Birdseye Frozen Foods in Walla Walla, but eventually became a regular employee and a technician in their quality control laboratory, continuing after the plant was sold to D&K Frozen Foods. She retired from D&K in 1983.
Lydia loved sewing, dancing, travel, and reading until her vision was badly impaired by macular degeneration. She was extremely family-oriented, having grown up with numerous cousins who were also her neighbors, schoolmates and friends. And she was very involved with her childrens’ lives as a member of P.T.A., Cub Scout den mother, co-leader of Blue Bird and Camp Fire groups, etc., as well as sounding board and adviser for all sorts of special school projects and participant in countless community projects and neighborhood group activities.
She was also a caregiver, devoting many years to her husband, after he suffered paralysis from a stroke, and to her mother who became disabled after breaking both hips. Lydia was devoted to her grandchildren as well, and spent a great deal of time helping raise them. She will be sorely missed by her surviving family and friends.
Her parents, husband, and two brothers, Robert M. and John P. Wallan, preceded her in death. She is survived by her son, Larry D. Gilmore of Milton-Freewater; three daughters, Lynelle K. Eckels (Marc) of Park City, Utah, Laurette J. (“Jan”) Robertson (Kirk) of Vancouver, Washington, and Leanne C. O’Neill of Federal Way, Washington, as well as six grandsons and two granddaughters.