Inez Gilhousen, a lifelong resident of The Dalles, passed away at a local assisted living facility where friends and family had gathered Friday night, September 13, 2014, not quite a month after her 94th birthday.
Born at the home of her parents, Floyd B. and Catherine (Small) Jackson on Tenth Street in The Dalles on August 19, 1920, Iney, as she was affectionately known to close friends and family was the eldest daughter of five siblings. The family relocated when she was a child to Kansas where she graduated salutatorian from Osawatomie High School in 1938, returning that year to Oregon where she attended what is now Northwest Christian University in Eugene, majoring in Biblical studies with a youthful hope of marriage to a minister and a life as a foreign missionary.
Instead, she met and married the late Dr. John S. Gilhousen in 1940 with whom she raised a family here in The Dalles, and remained active throughout their lives together in church, school and civic activities, including the PTA and the Republican Party for which she served several terms as a precinct committeewoman. She taught and served as Superintendent of the Sunday School of The Dalles Evangelical Church, sat on various local and denominational church boards including terms as a national conference delegate, and chairman of the Pacific Northwest Conference Evangelical Women. She was also elected to various offices of the local chapter of the Christian Womens’ Club, including a term as President, but her favorite role in that organization was as chairman of its Decoration Committee, which provided an outlet for her great interest in arts and crafts.
It was that interest which led her to develop skills as a seamstress, an expert cake decorator baking elaborate multi-tiered wedding cakes for many friends and family members. Although frugal, it was a source of family amusement that to Inez, when it came to fabrics, craft supplies, and reading materials on sewing, crafts and cooking, there never seemed to be any such thing as enough. Her quilts and other handicrafts are among the most treasured possessions of many among her friends and family.
A few years after her husband’s death in 1986, Inez sold the home in which her children had been raised and moved to the Pomona Meadows senior development, where she quickly renewed old friendships among the residents and made new friends. She also purchased a mobile home in Mesa, Arizona, where she spent winters for several years so she could be close to her daughter and grandchildren as they grew up. She was also able to finally realize her ambition to foreign missionary service, spending a summer as a volunteer at a World Gospel Mission school in Kenya.
Inez was also an avid reader throughout her life, and after several setbacks in her health in recent years limited her physical activity, she spent most of her waking hours with a book in her hands. She especially favored historical fiction with religious themes, and mysteries.
She was predeceased by her parents, her adopted brother, Harold, her husband and her son in law Chet Rettig. She is survived by her eldest daughter, Judith Ann Garratt (John) of Comptche, California; daughter Barbara Jean Bobbi Rettig of Mesa, Arizona, and son, Father John-Mark Gilhousen of The Dalles, grandsons John Bush (Devon Lacey) of Comptche and Rob Rettig (Stacey) of Mesa; granddaughter Leslie Ann Sifferman (Stephen) of Santa Clara, California; grandaughters Ki Rubin (Matthew) of Marin, California, and Jennifer Powers (Don) of Fort Bragg, California. She is also survived by her sister Reba Hall of The Dalles, and brothers James Jackson also of The Dalles, Bill Jackson of Bend, and their children, her many nieces and nephews, and her own great grandchildren Haley Lacey, Zoey and Clara Ruben; Joshua, Samantha, Sophia and Mitchell Rettig; Gregory, Stephanie and Nicholas Sifferman; and Ava Powers.
Viewing will be held at Spencer, Libby & Powell Funeral Home, 1100 Kelley Avenue in The Dalles on Friday, September 26, 2014, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Funeral Services will be conducted at The Dalles Evangelical Church, 1001 East Twelfth Street, The Dalles, The Rev. Douglas Marquardt officiating, on Saturday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m., with interment immediately following at Odd Fellows Cemetery on Cherry Heights Rd.
There will be an informal memorial remembrance held by Heart of Hospice at The Springs at Mill Creek, 1201 West 10th St., The Dalles, at 2:30 that afternoon where personal recollections may be shared, and a reception with light refreshments will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family is recommending memorial contributions in her name to her favorite charity, Medical Teams International (www.medicalteams.org).
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