- August 10, 2019 in Vancouver, Washington, beloved wife of Harry D. Metke, loving mother of Kathleen Metke Seguin, Brian R. Metke and Stephen C. Metke and last survivor of previously deceased siblings, older sisters Virginia Keep Mackin, Maxine Keep McFarland and younger brother, Jack Keep. She was also preceded in death by her husband, parents, grandparents. In addition to her children, she is also survived by seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lorlei Metke was bom in Portland, Oregon on December 26, 1922. She often told the story of what it was like being born the day after Christ's birthday; “Virginia, Maxine and Jack would open up their Christmas gifts of new pajamas and slippers; I received the pajamas knowing I would get the slippers the next day. ” This conditioned her to be a “giver in life rather than a receiver.’5
She was the third child of loving parents, Hany and Irene Keep. They resided on NE 9th street in Portland and she attended Woodlawn Elementary and Jefferson High schools. She graduated from Oregon State University in 1944 after serving (like her older sister) as president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Soon after, she was invited on a blind date to be escorted by a young naval officer who was so smitten he phoned back (after flowers were delivered) to meet for brunch at the old Multnomah Hotel. After many letters exchanged, her mother, Irene, escorted Lorlei on the train to Pensacola, Florida. She was wed as a “June Bride " under crossed swords, navy style, June 22, 1945.
As a Navy Wife, Lorlei learned to completely pack-up the Metke grub stake in only 48 hours. She was a master at it... .always pack china “on ends ” and don’t bother folding clothes, just put garbage sacks over the hangers, and then fold them into boxes.. ..we can iron them later. Following is her life Domicile:
Lorlei’s first responsibility was raising her children. ...as an educator she read to each child and even got Steve enrolled early into school as an October baby. Kit was way ahead of her class and once remarked in school; “Those dumb boys.... "And while Brian preferred to play the drums she insisted that all three children “need to learn the piano first in order to read music, then, you can choose another instrumentWe never go that far.
During our childhood Mom was always willing to host our friends and teammates. Boy & Girl Scouts, Babe Ruth and American Legion ball players, High School Honor Society and International Relations club meetings, complete with “goodies” from the kitchen. She was a true Betty Crocker (Mercedes Bates) OSU graduate.
Mom and dad had an unusual premarital agreement prior to their marriage. Mom was willing to compromise while advancing a women’s prerogative; unheard of in the forties. Dad as Catholic and Mom as Methodist agreed that girls would be raised protestant; the boys raised Catholic. While most “mixed marriages” fell by the religious agnostic way side, mom and dad were competitive.. .nobody ever missed Sunday School or a Hofy Day. There was no doubt that there was a moral foundation to their views on raising a family. Mom was most recently a member of the Mill Plain Methodist church, not just on Sunday, but also for Bunco Tuesdays and Thrift Shop Thursdays.
When the opportunity presented itself without hardship to the family, Lorlei taught school, from George Washington High School Home Economics instructor in Agana, Guam to third grade elementary teacher at Kingston School in Bend, Oregon. She insisted that students geometrically hand cut their own cloth patterns, memorize their multiplication tables and write thank you notes in cursive penmanship, something that seems foreign to today’s education methodology.
Mom was born with a green thumb which was modeled for her by her mother and Aunt Rose, the cookie specialist, who had the best peach & walnut trees and berry bushes in the NE 9th street neighborhood. She knew how to can fruits and vegetables and just recently, wobbling with cane in hand, picked three containers of her blueberries in her Vancouver backyard home only days before this last hospital experience.
Second only to her piano, mom’s most prized possession was her sewing machine. She could really make it sing; we believe this is how Singer got its name. We never experienced Back to School Shopping. There were no shopping malls on these naval air stations, only the PX in a Quonset hut. Mom made all of our clothes and we could rest assured at our birthday or Christmas parties to anticipate opening at least one package of new underwear. She insisted that we were clean well groomed.
Mom was raised during The Depression. She actually corrupts the word parsimonious ' as being far too liberal. No-one could pinch pennies or darn stockings or endure frayed red sweaters ‘To make do ” more so than Lorlei Keep Metlce. She sacrificed for us. I previously stated Mom was a giver, not a taker and we can document that mom and dad, contributed generously to their churches, sororities, foundations and children over their lifetime. They lived frugally with the occasional splurge by dad. They epitomize the best of The Greatest Generation. For those suspect, one only has to go to Central Oregon and view the placard where mom and dad are featured on the pathway outside of the Great Hall at Sun River, Oregon. As model Oregonians they are properly honored for posterity.
There is no doubt that Lorlei Metke lived a long, productive, and morally directed life and we are the richer recipients of her principled character and lifestyle. She is the glue that held our family together through thick and thin and it is our challenge to model and continue to live and learn from her example.
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