Lois Renee (Hammergren) Frank, of Winona, joined her beloved husband, Gene Frank, in her heavenly home on Thursday, February 20, 2020, with her daughter holding her hand. She was born on September 5, 1926, in St. Paul, Minn., the only child of Sherman and Elsie (Klein) Hammergren. Her early years were spent growing up and attending school through eighth grade in Cochrane, Wis. She later moved to Winona and graduated in 1944 from the old Winona Senior High School.
In early summer 1944, Lois met a handsome young soldier at a dance at the old YMCA in town. After two short months of seeing each other when Gene was allowed a weekend pass from Fort McCoy, he proposed to her. He presented “Lou,” as he affectionately called her, with an engagement ring when she and his mother visited him in Louisiana to say goodbye as Gene left for Europe to serve in WWII.
After graduation from high school, Lois attended Minneapolis Radio and Television Institute, moving on to employment as a reservation agent and station attendant with United Airlines in Connecticut and New York City. Upon Gene’s return from the war in early April 1946, they were married on April 30, 1946, in Albany, N.Y. They celebrated 70 wonderful years of marriage before Gene’s passing in February 2017.
Moving back to Winona from Albany in 1954, Lois stayed home and raised their four daughters. When the youngest, Peggy, was in school, Lois went back to work and became a paraprofessional at Jefferson School for nine years. She also volunteered as chairwoman of numerous committees as part of the Jefferson PTA, a Girl Scout leader, an election judge, and clerk at Treasures Galore. She also volunteered for almost 70 years with the Winona Health Auxiliary (starting out as a candy Sstriper). Lois was a member of McKinley Methodist Church (now Wesley United Methodist Church), which was very close to her heart.
Activities that enriched her life included women’s bridge groups, playing couples bridge with her husband and many other close friends for over 50 years, raising flowers, baking wonderful cookies, and golfing at Westfield Golf Club for many years. She was also an avid Twins fan — all activities were scheduled around the games!
Love of traveling took Lois and Gene to 49 of the 50 states, including many road trips with their daughters to New England and the Western U.S. They also visited 11 European countries, including their beloved Ireland. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on a cruise to the Bahamas with their daughters.
Lois was devoted to her husband, daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren — loving them all dearly! Lois was preceded in death by her adoring husband, Gene, in February 2017; her father, Sherman Hammergren; her mother and stepfather, Elsie and Jesse Jestus; two grandchildren, Jeremy and Johanna Peterson, who died shortly after their births; and brother-in-law, Gerald Pettersen. Lois is survived by her step-sister, Monte (Gerald) Pettersen; and her loving daughters and their husbands, Kris (David) Rodenwald, Judy (Mark) Beckman, Pat (Richard) Cichosz, and Peggy (Richard) Whalen. She is also survived by 12 treasured grandchildren, Katherine (Mike) Weber, Joe (Jessica) Rodenwald, and Dan Rodenwald, Jessica Johnson, Amy (Mark) Albrecht, and Kristy Peterson, Jeff Cichosz, Chad (Kathy) Cichosz, Doug (Jill) Cichosz, and Stacey (Nick) Hartlep, Jesse (Kally) Whalen, and Shawna (Dalton) Cook; 21 wonderful great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at Wesley United Methodist Church, Winona, Minn., on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the church.
Pallbearers will be her grandsons. Entombment is at Woodlawn Cemetery following the service and lunch.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Winona State University Nursing Scholarship program, Wesley United Methodist Church, or the Winona Health Hospice Fund. Fawcett Junker Funeral Home of Winona is assisting the family. (www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com)