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Juneau resident Lois Elaine Witham died Aug. 29, 2008, at Wildflower Court in Juneau. She was 79.
Born Dec. 30, 1928, in Stockton, Calif., she was a Juneau resident for almost 14 years and was a retired homemaker. As the eldest sister, she worked hard through her childhood. At age 15, she harvested peaches and apples in the fields of Oregon. She enjoyed working long hours in a pear-packing cannery there, too.
After World War II, she was married for several years to Gene Mockerman, now of Big Lake. As a single young mother of two young boys, she worked as a psychiatric technician at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, Calif., where she met and married co-worker Vern Witham. Later she served as a cook in a convalescent hospital in Oxnard, Calif. From there, she moved to Arroyo Grande, where she was most happy, because she enjoyed total self-reliance, her family said.
After that, she lived in Pacifica and San Francisco near her younger son, Terry, until finally coming to Juneau on Nov. 5, 1994, to be near her eldest son, Gene. She last resided at the Mountain View Senior Apartments in Juneau, where for nearly 12 years she made many friends.
"Independence" is a word that characterized Lois, her family said. She followed her own instincts, rarely acquiescing to the will or advice of others. To her last days, she held to ultimate self-determination, they said.
She worked hard to provide a happy and supportive home for her family, they said. Her legacy includes two sons dedicated to public service. Both sons were by her side at the moment of her peaceful passing.
"She was opinionated and tenacious. She maintained her dignity. She was always beautiful," her family said.
She was preceded in death by her father, Everett White; mother and step-father, Lola and George Osborn; sisters, Georgia Thompson and Sarah Allison; and nephews, Jay Driscoll and Jeffrey Livingstone.
She is survived by her sons, Gene Randall and wife, SueAnn, of Juneau, and Terry Daniel, of Pacifica, Calif.; grandson, Bridge Randall-Magalia and wife, Nancy, of Calif.; granddaughter, Summer Ziegler and husband, Andrew, of Richland, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Silver and Kaolin Randall, of Magalia, Calif., and Alexander and Jessica Daniel, of Pacifica, Calif.; sisters, Lila Bergman, of San Bernardino, Calif., and Shirley Ankeny and husband, Elmo, of Pea Ridge, Ark.; and brothers, Darwin White and wife, Bev, of Rogers, Ark., Wendell White and wife, Bev, of Englewood, Colo., Gary White and wife, Connie, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Gene White and wife, Shirley, of Sidney, Neb.
Services will be at 3 p.m. today, Sept. 3, at Mountain View Senior Center. California services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 5, at Montecito Memorial Park in Loma Linda.