Lois M. Forte
October 19, 1927 ~ May 7, 2014
Lois Forte, 86, of Wenatchee, WA (but always considered herself a Cashmerite), passed away at home on May 7, 2014, sleeping peacefully in the arms of her daughter, Morgyn. Mom was a spitfire, no way around it. She wasn’t shy, or necessarily quiet, about speaking her mind, and she was stubborn to boot. She loved her daughter to the depth of her soul. She loved her Bill. She loved her mom, Mabel. She loved their house by the river. She loved her Lincoln Town Car. She loved her coffee klatch. She loved living in the Valley. She loved her kitties. She loved her neighbors. She loved her friends. She loved her family. She had a lifelong love of reading mysteries and adored working crossword puzzles. She had a fabulous smile that lit up her face and could light up a room, and her laugh was wholehearted, loud and infectious. She connected early with the Cashmere Legion Auxiliary and cared passionately about it her entire adult life, doing everything she could to participate, support and promote it. She was one-of-a-kind and very loved. Her presence is greatly missed.
She was born in Wenatchee, WA on October 19, 1927, the daughter of Chester “Chet” and Mabel Taylor of Cashmere. She was raised in Cashmere, in a home by the river, and graduated from Cashmere High School in 1945. She attended Business College in Everett, WA, returning to Cashmere after completion. She worked at Cashmere Valley Bank beginning in 1947, and also worked part-time waitressing at her mother’s restaurant in Cashmere. It was at the restaurant, that she met Richard Taylor, a reserve soldier stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, when the soldiers were brought over to Cashmere to help pick apples. She married her tall, good-looking soldier in 1950 and lived at Fort Lewis until 1951, when they separated. She returned to Cashmere, where her daughter was born in 1951. Lois returned to work at Cashmere Valley Bank and was divorced from Richard in 1953. She was very active in the 8 et 40, and loved performing in that organization’s highly awarded precision drill team for many years, as well as their annual variety shows at the Legion Hall in Wenatchee, dancing and singing in every show. She was very involved in the Cashmere American Legion Auxiliary, from placing flags on all of the veteran’s and auxiliary graves at the Cashmere cemetery with her daughter, (who got to do most of the running around, locating graves), to Auxiliary President and everything in between. She met William “Big Bill” Forte in Cashmere when he was an engineer on the Great Northern Railroad, which regularly stopped at the Cashmere station. It was truly meant to be, just not immediately.
The soul mates were finally married in the Cashmere Methodist Church on September 28, 1964, and made their home in Cashmere until 1969, when they moved to Seattle. She started working right away at National Bank of Commerce in downtown Seattle. They bought their home in West Seattle in 1970, which they loved. The house was on the hill overlooking Vashon ferry and the Sound, and she loved to watch the ferries and other ships from their living room, and the sunsets were magnificent. National Bank of Commerce became Rainier Bank, and Lois became the assistant manager of Rainier’s repossession sales operation in Tukwila. Rainier Bank was acquired by Security Pacific National Bank, and she became manager of the department. In 1992, Security Pacific merged with Bank of America and she found herself working for Seafirst, so enough was enough and she retired. They decided to simplify, get out of the congestion and craziness of big city living, and return to her childhood home, by the Wenatchee River, in Cashmere. They extensively remodeled their home, with Bill doing most of the work himself. That was okay. It gave them both lots of stories to tell about doing dishes in the bathroom sink, cooking in an electric fry pan for months, and the changes they made as they went along. It was a good decision for her to move home. They lived in Seattle over 20 years, and she still referred to returning to Cashmere to visit her mother and friends as “going over home.” She had so many connections there - family, childhood friends, American Legion Auxiliary, 8 et 40. Always friendly and social anyway, she was very happy to be home, where she couldn’t stop by the market, post office or anywhere without running into someone she knew. She jumped right back into the Cashmere Legion Auxiliary and 8 et 40. She volunteered regularly at the Chelan County Museum. The annual Apple Days celebration was a special time at the museum, with the recreation of the pioneer village a particular favorite of hers: dressed in pioneer costume, she was the proprietress of the millinery shop each year. She was also active in Cashmere’s Lioness (Lion’s Club), Friends of the Museum, and her Cashmere Class of 1945 Reunion Committee. And she love, love, loved her coffee group at Barney’s. Two or three times a week, she would join her dear friends, drink tea and catch up with everyone’s lives. Bill was very involved in his World War II ship ‘Coos Bay’ reunions, and they travelled extensively to attend the annual affairs and visit their Navy friends - Seattle, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Boston, Washington D.C. Inveterate explorers at heart, they always took advantage of the reunions and checked out the extended areas around the reunions, having a ball, seeing so many great places (they went to Maui for their 25th anniversary and managed to put over 1,000 miles on the rental car in one week, on an island no less!). She lost her beloved Bill in 2006. She remained at their home in Cashmere until late 2010, when she moved to Wenatchee to live with her caregiver.
She is survived by her daughter, Morgyn Taylor of Playa del Rey, CA; her cousins, Evelyn and Mary (Stoltenberg), Myrna, Rita, Marlene, Suzanne, Helen and Peter (Slingsby); her cousin-in-law, Flo (Stoltenberg); and many other cousins and extended family.
There aren’t enough words to thank her caregiver, Michael Oliphant. They knew each other almost eight years, and the quality and length of her life was immeasurably increased and improved with his help. They were way more than caregiver/caretaker. She was feisty and stubborn and he could go nose to nose with her, and they both loved it. She was always, always, always up for a road trip and he loved to drive. They covered and shared a lot of miles and adventures together. They were cohorts, they were friends, they challenged and changed each other, and they loved each other. I couldn’t have done any of it without you, Mike, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It takes a village, and Jesus Anaya and Juan Jimenez helped, shared and cared for her, too, over this almost eight year path we’ve been on. Again, there aren’t enough words to convey how much I thank you. Couldn’t have done it without you two.
A Celebration of Lois’s Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday May 31, 2014, at the Cashmere American Legion Hall. Friends and family are invited to join the party, share some food and Lois stories, and toast her life. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Lois’s name to the Friends of Old Mission in Cashmere or a charity of your choice. Interment will be private. Ward’s Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth, is in charge of the arrangements.