Memories of Lois
Lois never lost her lust for life. Even as she was in her last days, she told the kids that she wanted to volunteer at Litzenberg Hospital as soon as she got over this illness. Her son Jeff remarked that his mother was always on the lookout for something new that needed to be done. She would work at something for a while and then pass on to something new and different. She had so many interests. One example is the question of what Lois majored in at UNO. Patti said she knows it was journalism and history because she wrote that down fifteen years ago and it had to have been her mother who told her that. Yet Sandi was thinking it was math and social studies while Jeff was certain it was psychology and political science. I think the answer must be that Lois loved all the classes she had, in each one of those fields and must have expounded on different ones to the different members of her family. In Jeff’s case, when he was pretty young, Lois would discuss books with him and talk to him about science. That’s what inspired him to go into academia.
When the children were young, Lois would take them to every museum and historical site in a 200-mile radius. They all absorbed her interest in history, the wonders of nature, and the desire to think and talk about all kinds of things. Patti mentioned that family discussions often centered on controversial topics like religion and politics, contrasting that with many other families who never dared talked about either. In the case of the Schanks, there was little arguing. Religion was discussed in a philosophical way, and political conversations were long and thoughtful.
Lois was really into politics. She wrote lots of letters to the editor and also to senators and representatives. She was loyal to the Democratic Party and was a delegate to the state Democratic convention. She also used to volunteer at the State Fair Democratic booth. Suzie would sometimes relieve her there so she could do something else for a while.
There were other memories of Lois. She loved living on the farm, and derived enjoyment from walking all over, taking in every piece of the ground. She was also an excellent cook. The kids recall her baked chicken and her bread. A friend on Facebook mentioned her cottage cheese dilly bread. And, since there was only home baked bread at their house, Patti marveled at the Wonder Bread she encountered at a friend’s house. It was so soft you could roll it up in your fingers. And Jeff mentioned that when he was away from home, every time he’d come back Lois would want to load him up with about a week’s worth of food to take back. One of the things Jeff’s wife Brenda will never forget is that when she and Jeff were first dating, Lois wanted her to feel a part of the family, so she gave Brenda her sewing machine.
Many Central City people remember Lois from her newspaper days, that tiny woman showing up at every event, lugging the big press camera to take photos. She was an excellent writer and editor, bringing a spark to the Republican-Nonpareil that it had not had for a while. She will be long remembered.
- From the reading by Ellen Campbell at Lois's service, based on memories from her children