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Louise Marie Ernst Durfey, 86, of Sunnyside passed away peacefully Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, at her residence in Sun Terrace Assisted Living Apartments in Sunnyside.

She was born March 6, 1921, to Ezra and Julia Thorkelson. Louise spent her childhood in Lynden, before the family moved to Rochester. She graduated from Rochester High School and took classes at the University of Washington. Although she worked several part time jobs, finances and World War II cut her studies short. She met a dashing young Army private, James Franklin Durfey, in 1940 and they married on Feb. 22, 1941, shortly before he shipped out to the European t heatre.

Louise worked the next four years at Boeing as a top administrative assistant in the budget area. She scrimped and saved her salary in anticipation of Jim's return and their life together. Upon Jim's return they moved to the Sunnyside area, where they started farming. Louise worked at Upland Winery until their first child, James Edward, was born. A second son, Theodore Royal, followed two years later and the family moved to Prosser and expanded his farming operation to the Roza. A third son, Thomas Franklin, joined the family, and they moved into a larger home and farm site in Mabton.

An artist, pianist and vocalist, Louise was an exceptionally hard working homemaker, excelling in cooking, preserving, sewing and managing the farm finances. She made everything from scratch and encouraged her young sons to sell their surplus butter and eggs.

She was a member of the Farm Bureau, Roza Home Arts and Business and Professional Women's Organization. She and Jim were long-time members of the 30-70's dance club. She was an avid teacher and guided her sons through music, Boy Scouts, where they reached the rank of Eagle Scout, 4-H and a college education.

She did not spare them from their share of home and domestic responsibilities. She was an advocate for higher education and stressed the importance of learning through reading. The summer vacation trips she planned were always memorable.

In many instances, she was a woman ahead of her time. In the 1960s, she lobbied for Spanish to be taught in high schools as the foreign language requirement. She quickly adopted the usefulness of computers before many people knew what they were.

Canning and dehydrating fruits and vegetables were a standard summer process for her, before it came into vogue.

She is survived by her three sons, Jim (Jude) of Pullman, Ted (Pamela) and Tom (Bernadette), all of Sunnyside; five granddaughters, Audra Weber and husband, Ryan, Adele Durfey, Alys Durfey, Chelsea Durfey and Rachelle Durfey; a brother-in-law, Marvin Durfey (Christine); a sister-in-Law, Margery Durfey; numerous nieces and nephews; and a special niece, Marcy Anderson of Alexandria, Va.

She was preceded in death by her husband of more than 50 years, James Durfey; and all her siblings.

A special thanks to the staff of Sun Terrace and Lower Valley Hospice for their loving care.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor her memory may contribute to Lower Valley Hospice.

Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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