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Laura Lundgren Raley celebrates 95th birthday
95th birthday
Laura Lundgren Raley prepares to cut a birthday cake baked and decorated by her granddaughter, Christy High, from Collierville, Tenn. at a party in her honor held at the Turlock Free Methodist Church. - photo by Photo Contributed

A 95th birthday celebration was held recently in the Fellowship Hall of the Turlock Free Methodist Church for Turlock resident Laura Lundgren Raley.  Laura was born in Turlock, along with her brother, another long-time Turlock resident, Archie Lundgren, who taught at Turlock High School for 25 years. 

Laura ventured to Los Angeles for her high school senior year, graduating from Los Angeles Pacific, where she also received her Associate in Arts degree.  (Several years ago Los Angeles Pacific was merged with Azusa Pacific University.)

After graduation she and Virgil Raley were married.  Virgil and Laura spent 46 years in the ministry of the Free Methodist Church, pastoring churches in

Michigan, namely Ferndale and Dearborn; Wessington Springs, SD;

two churches in Seattle, Wash.;  and in California, namely San Pedro, Highland Park, and Redlands.

Virgil was also Conference Superintendent of the Southern California—Arizona Conference for 12 years. Upon retirement the Raleys settled in Turlock in 1986.  Virgil passed away in 2008.

Seventeen of Laura’s immediate family joined her for the celebration.  They came from Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and from Desert Hot Springs and Seaside, Calif.  Other relatives and friends came from New Hampshire, Indiana, and several points in California.

The festivities began with a tri-tip lunch served by the Board of Stewards.

The program included performances from the great grandchildren and sharing of memories from Laura’s children, Eugene, Duane, and Mary.   Pastor Chris Hemberry presented a certificate of appreciation.  Musical numbers included Laura’s favorite hymns, an accordion solo, and a male duet.  A grandson prepared a PowerPoint slide show.

Laura is blessed with three children, five grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.   She enjoys good health, exercises daily, and maintains a flower garden.