Edith Lucile Torgerson, a long-time resident of The Dalles, Ore., passed away at her home on May 21, 2019.
Lucile was born on July 19, 1927, in Napavine, Wash., to Oscar and Vera Rankin. Oscar passed away from spinal meningitis in 1928, and Vera moved Lucile and her siblings, Lois, Joan, and Donald to live with Lucile’s maternal grandparents in Magill Spur, Idaho. Lucile was especially close to her grandfather Jones and enjoyed her childhood in Idaho. Eventually the family moved to Orofino, Idaho, where Lucile graduated from high school in 1945.
After graduation, Lucile enrolled at the University of Idaho, where she met Jim Torgerson in 1946. They soon began dating, and were married in Moscow, Idaho on August 31, 1947. Lucile and Jim raised two children: Mark, born 1955, and Sally, born 1958. Her life with Jim was one of journeys throughout the world: to Kansas City, Kan., Concrete, Wash,, Kamiah, Moscow, and, Reubens, Idaho, Fairbanks, Aalaska, and worked for a short time within the Navajo Nation, but always returning to The Dalles. Initially, Lucile and Jim owned Jarty’s Jewelry. They owned stores in both Oregon and Idaho. Eventually, they decided that the business was not as satisfying as they had hoped it would be. They soon sold the store, and both went back to school to become teachers.
It was in education that Lucile found her passion. She taught various grades in various locations but was most interested in alternative education. She began working at an alternative education program which would eventually become Learning House. There she worked with students who were not successful in traditional education programs. The program began with 30 students in the mid-70’s, and a decade later the program was serving nearly 400 students each school year.
After retiring from Learning House, Lucile and Jim joined the Peace Corps. They were assigned to Belize. They joined with 45 other Peace Corps volunteers in 1986 and were assigned to Hopkins Village. There they taught local school children and helped build a new pre-school in the village. Upon the end of their term, Lucile and Jim returned to The Dalles, leaving “the toughest job we ever loved.”
Retirement did not stick for them, and they soon started a chapter of Habitat for Humanity in The Dalles. Along with a handful of dedicated volunteers, they received their Habitat affiliation in June of 1992. The groundbreaking on the first house was in September of 1993, and to date the chapter has built over 30 houses for low-income families in the Columbia Gorge. Lucile passed her leadership role on to others in 2007, though both Lucile and Jim remained active in the organization.
Lucile was preceded in death by husband, Jim, son, Mark, parents and siblings, Lois, Joan, Donald and Myrna.
Lucile is survived by her daughter Sally; grandson Sean, his wife Lindsay, and children Tucker and Kennedy; granddaughter Kaitlin, as well members of the Torgerson and Rankin families.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to The Dalles Area Habitat for Humanity, 505 Court Street, The Dalles or Providence Hospice of the Gorge, 1630 Woods Court, Hood River, Oregon.
A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Christ, 505 Court Street The Dalles, Oregon on June 25, 2019 at 1 p.m.