As the sun was setting on July 26th, Lee embarked on her final road trip to be reunited with her family and friends who made the journey before her.
Loletha Ruth was born on September 11, 1924 in Turlock, CA to Harry and Augusta Spitsen and as the caboose, was welcomed home by her siblings Ruben, Martin, Gordon, Doris (Watson/Harlan), Lester, Arlo and Nora (Olson). Their family home was on Riverside Avenue in Hilmar where she had memories of potlucks, singing around the piano, helping on the farm, swimming in the ditch and walking to Riverside Grammar School. They lost their father Harry when Lee was only 7 years old which, along with the Great Depression, brought the family hard times, but also brought them close together in a special bond which lasted throughout their entire lives.
Lee met her first love, Albert Johnson, at a high school dance and they married soon after graduation. When Al left to serve in WWII, she lived for a while with her mother Augusta, sister Nora and brother Arlo in the Bay Area where they worked to support the war effort. Upon Al’s return they made their first home in Hayward, CA where they added to their family a son Raymond Albert and daughter Gail Loletha. After briefly living in Hilmar, they moved to Santa Cruz, CA where Lee first worked as the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Capitola and then as office manager for a mobile home park in Scotts Valley from which she retired. During this time, Al was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed away.
It was some time later that she met Charlie Allen and found true love again. With her children now adults, Lee moved back to Hilmar with Charlie to live close to family. Sadly after many happy years together, Lee also lost Charlie. Being the strong, feisty and adventurous woman that she was, she several times pulled her own trailer cross country and each year down to Yuma where she enjoyed many close friendships. During one of her many trips, she met the equally feisty John Tishner and love blossomed again. Together they happily made their home in Hilmar hosting Sunday family dinners until John’s death in January of this year after a long illness.
Lee was a member of the Hilmar Historical Society and the Hilmar Covenant Church. She loved her Lord Jesus and shared her deep faith openly.
We will always remember our mother and aunt as a classy, well dressed, vibrant lady with a great sense of humor, who was fun to be around, loved adventure and always looked forward to the next family get-together.
Proceeding Lee in death along with her life loves, were her parents, her siblings, her daughter Gail Hammett, along with nephews Reuben Jr, Dennis Watson and niece Jeanne Spitsen.
Those that look forward to seeing her again include her loving son Ray Johnson and wife, caregiver and angel, Lin of Hilmar; grandsons Brian, wife Amy, and great-grandson Titus of Lompoc, CA, Tyler of Lompoc, Scott and partner Selena of Hilmar, grandson Patrick Johnson of WA along with Nancy and Stan Smith of WA; grandsons Steven Hammett and Jimmy Hammett and great-granddaughter Jadelynn of Michigan; sister-in law Rosie Spitsen of Hilmar; grandson Jon Tishner, wife Angie and great-grandson Hank of Corning, granddaughter Rachael Tishner of Arkansas, sister-in-law Bertha (Johnson) and husband Rodney Schultz of Turlock and brother-in-law Harry Johnson and wife Phyllis of Santa Cruz.
Auntie Lee will also be dearly missed and forever remembered by her many nieces and nephews. Most of all by the surviving children of her siblings: Joann (Dale) Gillespie, Marty (Denise) Spitsen, Roger (Annette) Spitsen, Bruce Spitsen, Eileen Antonides, Maryanne Henry, John (Kathy) Spitsen, Marla (Jeff) Mack, Scott (Lisa) Spitsen, Noreen “Cooki” (Dave) Vonasek, Larry (Terry) Olson, Virginia (Leo) Aguilera, and Kathy (Dave) Halsey.
A graveside service honoring her life will be held at the North Hilmar Cemetery on Friday, August 4th at 10 AM. Those attending are requested to wear something in Lee’s favorite color, PINK. Memorial contributions can be made to CovenantCare Hospice at 125 N. Broadway, Suite 1B, Turlock, CA 95380. Please share your memories at www.AllenMortuary.com.