Lora Lee Jensen, also known as “Lori”, of Cottage Grove, OR passed away peacefully in late afternoon on March 21, 2020 with her family nearby, and with the warmth of spring sunshine and fresh garden air at her opened patio door. She was 83 years old.
The staff at Pete Moore Hospice House in Eugene provided care and comfort during her final days. She received visits from her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Mary Storaasli; grand-daughters, Hannah and Amanda Storaasli; great-granddaughters, Helen and Amelia; and their sweet labrador named Sage. All seven had just arrived via automobile from Austin, Texas. Daughter, Jeri Carson, of Cottage Grove also got to spend precious final moments with her best friend that she called “mom.”
Lora Lee was born April 23, 1936 in Kalispell, Mont. to parents Harry and Hazel Hoiland. She joined two older sisters, Shirley and Carol, completing the Hoiland family of five. As the youngest in her family, she enjoyed a privileged and carefree childhood in a small town, attending public schools, and forming important early friendships that she nourished carefully and maintained throughout her lifetime even after moving miles away in later years. Her capacity for loving others unconditionally, and for cherishing the uniqueness of every individual, was certainly a key trait.
Devoutly Christian, her parents had shared with her their deep faith in God. Her mother was the pianist for the local Assembly of God church so this pretty much guaranteed Lora Lee would attend church and Sunday School on Sunday mornings, Sunday evening church, Wednesday prayer meetings, revival meetings, and church camps. She learned that the most important of all Jesus’ teachings was that we should “Love One Another.” Indeed, she exemplified that ideal for her entire lifetime. Observant, sharp, and sensitive to those needing compassion or help with life struggles, Lora Lee always sought and found many opportunities to help ease others’ pain and suffering wherever she could.
In 1952, Lora Lee Hoiland married her high-school sweetheart, a local boy named Dale Storaasli. Together they had a 1950s family of young “baby-boomers”, and they remained mostly in the town of Kalispell, in Montana’s Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park. Dale and Lora Lee were blessed with four children that they named Mark, Jeri, Victor and Harry.
Her first marriage lasted over nineteen years. Then, she found herself facing new challenges as a single mom of teenage children at Silver Strand Beach in Ventura County, Calif. It was a big change. She had loved being a stay-at-home-mom in Montana, but she had to accept the reality of being on her own for the first time in her life. Determination to succeed and a strong work ethic helped her to build a new life where she very capably supported her children. She went back to college, and she began a long career working for the State of California, initially as a Psychiatric Technician at Camarillo State Hospital. Later, she moved into higher management as a Nursing Coordinator at Agnews State Hospital in northern California where she worked until her retirement.
A second brief marriage in the San Francisco Bay area to Samuel Brannen was happy but ended just a little over a year later when Sam died young, stricken by a heart attack. Her third marriage in 1982 to Phillip Jensen in Fremont, CA was much longer and a joyful endeavor for both. Since Phil had children previously with his first wife during the same years that “Lori” had been having her own children, their children were almost all grown and gone.
Over the next 33 years together until Phil’s death in 2015, they had adventures abroad, enjoyed museums, attended art and music events, acquired treasures at garage sales, and just generally enjoyed life keeping busy with multiple interests and hobbies at home, particularly after moving to Cottage Grove in 1999.
Lora Lee is survived by her son Mark and his family, her daughter Jeri, and many nieces and nephews in addition to the much-loved and large blended-extended family she acquired during her marriage to Phillip Jensen. Lora Lee was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, her son Victor, her son Harry, and her late-husband Phil.
A memorial gathering has not been planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of flowers, Lora Lee’s family suggests that perhaps a donation to NAMI Lane County, or to South Lane Mental Health, or to any worthy charity of one’s choice would be appropriate in honor of this wonderful woman. Lora Lee Jensen will be remembered fondly and missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.