Lawanda Grace McGhee Allred, exemplary mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, rejoined her beloved husband, Albert, on Friday, December 29, 2017, at the age of 95. Lawanda was born on December 7, 1922, in Boggy Depot, Oklahoma, to Anna (Gudgel) and Nathan McGhee.
At the age of four, Lawanda’s parents moved to California, finally settling in Chowchilla where she graduated high school in 1940. Determined to further her education, and with few options available, Lawanda petitioned the principal of the high school and was allowed to go back for a fifth year. This commitment to education was instilled in her four children and six grandchildren by encouraging and supporting their efforts to pursue higher education and in other ways as simple as clipping articles from various sources that she thought would be helpful. She was a voracious reader.
Lawanda started her working career with the Farm Security Administration, helping farmers to secure small loans for wells and grape vines in the Madera area. She later worked for the Madera Irrigation District, and in 1982 retired from Madera City School District as Executive Secretary to the Business Manager. During a time when it was unusual for women to work full time, Lawanda maintained an immaculate home, cooked for every meal, sewed clothes for her daughters and their dolls, ironed for six people, planted flowers in the front yard every summer, and baked a cake or pie for dinner most Sundays. All this was before permanent press fabrics and microwave ovens!
Lawanda met Albert by chance when both were on dates with other individuals. Albert was so taken by her that he told the friend dating Lawanda he was going to marry her. Lawanda and Albert were married on March 21, 1943, a marriage that lasted 73 years, including four years apart during World War II. They built their life and family in Madera where they resided until Albert’s death in 2015. They loved to travel, booking 13 trips to Hawaii and multiple trips to Europe, were active in the Madera community, and enjoyed a wide circle of friends with whom they loved to RV and golf whenever an opportunity presented.
Each person is given the gift of time on this earth, to live, to learn, to love, and to leave a legacy. Lawanda’s legacy is reflected in the love back to her from daughters, Claudia Tischler and husband Gordon, Susan Simpson, Kerry Allred; son David and wife Elizabeth Dudenhausen. Grandsons, Michael Londgren and wife Jennifer, Douglas Londgren, Matthew Walker and wife Marissa. Granddaughters, Samantha Grace Walker Leon and husband Christopher, and Sarah and Mary Allred. Great grandchildren, Alexander Londgren, Marshall and Mallory Walker, and Theodore and Madeline Grace Leon. Numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by Albert, her parents, sister Evelyn Fenske, and brother Nathan McGhee; son-in-law John L. Simpson.
The family wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the kindness and compassion shown to Lawanda and the family by staff at Kingston Bay Senior Retirement Community; and by Samaira, Shakina, Michele, and Melissa from Right At Home.
Private services will be held. Remembrances may be made to Madera County Historical Society, P.O. Box 150, Madera California, 93639; or to the donor’s favorite charity.