Obituary: Lois Ruth Elmgren Baumann ’57
Our mom, Lois Ruth Elmgren Baumann ’57 was born on March 11, 1935, in Neenah, WI, the only child of Clarence and Georgia (née McCray) Elmgren. She passed away on January 29, 2018, at Carolina Village Medical Center.
As a young child she was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and placed on bed rest for 1 ½ years. It was this experience that shaped her stoic nature and started her love of books. Her voracious reading habit, which in turn led to her love of world history and politics, continued until her vision failed. Despite her many challenges through the years, she never complained.
She met Hilbert (Hib, Bert) W Baumann ’56 on a blind date while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was married during her senior year. She was graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in history.
They moved to Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH, where their daughter, Christine was born. After leaving the Air Force, they moved to New Jersey, where their son Jeffrey was born. In 1963, dad accepted a position with ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. Mom knew where that was—others had to grab a globe! For 23 years they lived in Abqaiq and Dhahran, meeting life-long friends, playing tennis and bridge, continuing their love of UW-Madison by co-founding the Bedouin Badgers, and traveling the world.
Mom was a Girl Scout leader for many years and by the gracious nomination of her co-leaders, she was awarded the Thanks Badge, the highest award in Girl Scout leadership. Girl Scout highlights included trips to Iran and Bahrain, as well as the annual April campout on the Arabian Gulf.
Working initially as a substitute teacher, she found her dream job as the 4th grade teacher’s aide for dear friends Pat Moody, Nell Bess, and Nancy Cool. Her organizational skills, and ability to compose poems for any occasion, served her well.
From 1963-2016, mom traveled to many countries, first with the family, and in later years with either Chris or friends, reaching 6 of the 7 continents. Her dream of visiting Australia was sadly never realized.
In 1986, mom and dad retired to Hendersonville, NC. After dad passed away in 1997, mom continued attending Brevard Music Center, playing bridge, helping with library sales, reading, and attending Grace Lutheran Church, for which she efficiently served as librarian for years.
Her love of reading, and the English language (she knew every spelling and grammar rule), led to her staggering Scrabble expertise. Much to Chris’ husband’s dismay, he never won. In an ego shattering moment, Brent confidently called her up and challenged, “spell Lagniappe”. And she did. On the spot. Without hesitation.
She and Jeff were not of one mind politically, often engaging in energetic discussions of foreign and domestic events. She was a regular writer to the Times-News editor. We had a bit of a chuckle toward the end, when in her pleasant confusion she spoke of her recent luncheon with the current President. Chris preferred the story of her dinner with Queen Elizabeth II.
Mom moved into her beautiful cottage in Carolina Village, but was only able to enjoy it for 1 ½ years before a cascade of medical events moved her to the Medical Center, from which she was never able to leave.
Mom was pre-deceased by her parents, great-aunt Dorothy Elmgren, and husband. She is survived by her daughter Christine Ann (Brent) Lillesand of Madison, WI; son Jeffrey Walter (Jean) Baumann and grand-son, Caulden Walter Baumann of Coon Rapids, MN.
Thank you to everyone who stayed in touch with mom. Your visits, cards and phone calls meant the world to us. For those of you who went above and beyond with laundry service, gifts, cat care, weekly Sunday calls, and telephonic updates to us, God bless you. This unexpected and rapid journey was made a little easier for us by all the kindness and support you showed mom.
A memorial service will be held on March 5, 2018. Mom requested that in lieu of flowers, memorials in her name should be considered to Henderson County Library, Community Partnership for Pets or Four Seasons Hospice.