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Obituary of Laura Louise Jennings
Our loving mother, Laura Louise Jennings, 84 years old, passed away November 20, 2021, at her home in Rochester, Washington. She had a sudden heart attack brought on by complications of her recent illness with Covid-19. Family rushed to her aid, but the good Lord had other plans and sent our father, Elton, to bring her home to be with her heavenly family!
Laura was born at home, February 10, 1937, in Chehalis, Washington, to Elmer Frank Colegrove and Grace Thelma (Combs) Colegrove. Her parent’s moved the family to the Salzer Valley area of Centralia the same year she was born. There she grew up on her parents’ 80 acres on Proffitt Road until she graduated from Centralia High School in 1955. After marrying her first husband, Edwin R. Van Gorder, on February 19, 1955, and after her graduation, they moved to Portland, Oregon, where they raised their three children, Rosa, Lynn, and Bruce until their divorce in January of 1973.
After her divorce, Laura moved home to help take care of her mother, and rekindled her friendship with her lifelong friend and true love of her life, Elton C.E. Jennings! They were soon to be married on May 27, 1973, at Alder Street Baptist Church, Centralia. Together finally, they continued to raise her children, Bruce and Lynn. In November of 1973 their first child, Brian Charles, was born. Their daughter, Maria Taloma, followed quickly 16 months later in March of 1975.
In November of 1979, Laura and Elton moved their family to Rochester, where they lived until Elton’s passing in February of 2008 and Laura’s passing on November 20, 2021.
Laura enjoyed being a homemaker. She enjoyed working in their yard, as well as collecting antiques and knick-knacks, and going to garage sales. In addition, she loved searching for treasures at the local Salvation Army second-hand store and the Goodwill, finding many an antique or bargain over the years. Later in life, she developed a love for watching QVC and the other shop-at-home channels. On more than one occasion, she could be found calling one of her children to see if they were also watching one of these shopping channels, and to let them know about the newest item that was on sale!
She also enjoyed taking care of children and her family. She worked for the Portland YMCA in their daycare during the late 1960s. Later on after her youngest children were teenagers, she returned to the child care field, working over the next 10 years for the First Church of God, The Four Square Church, and Destiny Christian Center all in Centralia, before retiring for good to take care of her husband who had had a debilitating stroke.
Over the years, she also helped care for other ill and debilitated family members. This included her mother, both husbands, her brother-in-law and two of her sisters-in-law. She was a very kind, caring, loving and compassionate person, and it showed in how she cared so much for her family!
She is survived by her sons, Brian C. Jennings (wife, Wendy) of Chehalis, and Bruce R. Van Gorder (wife, Julie) of Canby, Oregon; daughters, Rosa L. Libey (husband, Ken Sr.) of Portland, Oregon, Lynn J. Belcher of Rochester, and Maria T. Singleton (husband, David) of Chehalis; grandchildren, Ken Libey Jr., Vicki De Guise, Shayleena-Max Singleton, Marissa Singleton, Garrett Jennings, and Isabelle Jennings; great-grandchildren, Monica Hammack, Treven Hammack and Emily Hammack; brother, William F. Colegrove (wife, Lynne) of St. George, Utah; and a sister, Nancy S. (Colegrove-Gunter) Reed (husband, Tom) of Grand Coulee, Washington. She is also survived by many loved nieces and nephews living all over the Pacific Northwest and across the United States.
She was predeceased by her husband, Elton C.E. Jennings; grandparents, William F. Combs and Sara Etna (Trout) Combs and John W. Colegrove and Mary E. (Wood) Colegrove; parents, Elmer F. Colegrove and Grace T. Colegrove; brothers, Franklin W. Colegrove and Charles E. Colegrove; and sisters, Thelma E. Bledsoe, Genevieve G. (Moran) Bates, and Mary E. Grasser.
Though gone, she will never be forgotten by her family and friends, and we all look forward to that day we are reunited with her at the Gates of Heaven!
The family would like to thank Dr. Eric J. Klein and his staff of West Olympia Internal Medicine for over 30 years of kind, caring and compassionate care for our mother and father, Laura and Elton! You all are loved and truly part of our family! The family would also like to thank the first responders from the West Thurston/Tumwater Emergency services who helped our parents over the last 20 years, and did everything they could to save our Mom at the end! You all are so much appreciated and we can never thank all of you enough for your care and kindness! May God bless you all!
A Celebration of Life for Laura will take place Sunday, January 9, 2022, 1:00 p.m. at Fort Borst Park, Kitchen #2, Centralia, WA 98531. All family and friends are invited to attend. A main course, salad and drinks will be provided. This will be potluck style and attendees are asked to bring their favorite dish if you so choose as Mom and Dad always enjoyed the potlucks we had at this facility over the years!
Please make any charitable donations to your favorite charity and the Salvation Army!
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