Laura Etha Lundgren was born the last of six children to Enoch and Grace Lundgren on May 7, 1919 in Turlock, CA. She was fortunate to be born in a Christian home. She attended the Free Methodist Church all her life.
When Laura was 7 years of age the family moved to Modesto where she lived until she moved to Los Angeles to live with her sister Hazel and her family so she could attend Los Angeles Pacific High School and College.
At the age of 12, she attended a F.M. camp meeting in Santa Cruz where she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. She said she never before experienced such joy. Laura attended LAPC her last three years of high school and second year of college, attending her first year of college at Modesto Junior College.
She graduated from LAPC in 1939. Laura and Virgil’s first date was commencement night. They were married November 3, 1940 in Ripon, CA. During Laura’s school years she loved all kinds of sports, especially basketball and baseball.
One year while she was at LAPC she was the captain of her basketball team. She was also the pitcher for her baseball team and one year she was a cheerleader.
After Virgil and Laura were married Laura immediately became a pastor’s wife. They served the San Pedro Church for four years. During the last year, Laura worked for JC Penney as a cashier. From San Pedro, Laura and Virgil moved to Seattle where Virgil served as an assistant pastor to Myron Boyd who was the senior pastor, at that time, of the Seattle Pacific College Church. Eugene was born three months after they moved
After serving SPC Church Virgil wanted to pastor his own church, so he was appointed to the Seattle Rainer Ave. Church.
It was while there that Duane was born. While living in Seattle Virgil took some classes at SPC and received his BA in religion.
From Seattle the family moved to Wessington Springs, SD FM Church where the church had a college. After South Dakota Virgil and Laura served Ferndale, MI church for 8 years then from there to the Dearborn MI Church.
Mary was born while they were in Ferndale. The family always intended to move back to California where both families lived. After living in Dearborn for two years Virgil was offered to pastor the LAPC College Church where Virgil and Laura had attended as students.
During the last year at the College Church Laura worked as a teacher for the LA Unified School District. After five years pastoring the College Church Virgil was elected Conference Superintendent of the California Arizona Conference and served for 12 years.
While Virgil was superintendent they lived in Glendora and Laura worked in the business office as cashier at Azusa Pacific College. After serving 8 years at the Redlands Church it was time to retire. Virgil told Laura, “I have taken you all over the nation, now I want you to choose where you want to retire” and she chose Turlock, the place of her birth.
Virgil loved the cities and Laura loved the country. During their pastorates Laura was a busy pastor’s wife.
She always taught a Sunday school class, usually preschoolers. She was always active in the Women’s Missionary Society. She often went calling with Virgil. She spent much of her time entertaining speakers and parishioners, which she enjoyed doing. She said it was a great blessing and a great privilege to have in their home missionaries, bishops, speakers and parishioners.
The Raley family learned much from them. Once they had a speaker in their home from a Sunday to a Sunday who was diabetic. Laura went to the library for books to learn how to feed a diabetic. Virgil and Laura traveled overseas visiting many countries including Israel and Europe. After Virgil’s death in 2008 Laura, along with Duane and Mary, visited her father’s birthplace in Sweden.
Laura’s hobbies were cooking, sewing, gardening and reading. During her elder years she regretted not being able to be as active for the Lord as she once was. Laura had a strong faith in her Lord and she loved her God.
Laura is survived by her beloved children, Eugene Raley, Duane Raley, Mary Cook and her beloved daughter-in-law, Joyce Raley. Laura had an abiding love for her 5 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made in her memory to General Free Methodist Missions c/o Turlock Free Methodist Church, 2006 East Tuolumne Rd., Turlock, CA 95382.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 3:00p.m. at Turlock Free Methodist Church. Please share your memories at www.AllenMortuary.com.