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Lorene Vannest

March 20, 1922 ~ July 14, 2018 (age 96)

Lorene Vannest was brought to New Mexico as an infant in 1922 by her parents William Plemon and Minnie Kate (Cross) Johnson. They traveled from Texas in a mule drawn wagon, took pictures at the wooden bridge at Bernalillo, and homesteaded near Cuba, where the family ranching and business legacy still exists.

Lorene found her personal relationship with the Lord when she was twelve, and in her words, took it seriously.

Living in Albuquerque with her aunt, Trixie Van Dongen, Lorene attended Harwood School. Upon graduation, against well intended advice and with no resources, she traveled to Las Cruces and managed to enroll at A&M university. She worked as a telephone operator and cleaned sorority houses, never sure if the next tuition payment would be possible. She graduated in 1944 with a degree in education, and did graduate work at UNM. Lorene never let another’s opinion limit her, or distract from the task at hand.

Lorene met Glen Vannest at the fountain behind Hadley Hall In 1943. They were married in a double wedding with Newt and Alice Hughes, with whom they remained life long close friends. Lorene and Glen were loving and loyal partners through his passing in 2004.

Upon his discharge from the army, Glen and Lorene established themselves in Las Vegas, NM. Lorene taught home economics in a room provided by a local church, as the previous school building had been destroyed by a fire. Lorene recruited a college friend, Pauline Burke, and together they designed and built a state of the art lab with donations from appliance and sewing machine manufacturers. Their cooking test lab became a community resource, and recipes they developed appeared in widely distributed cookbooks.

Also while in Vegas, Lorene’s brother Robert W Johnson came to stay until his graduation from high school. His subsequent successes and gratitude brought her joy.

When family needed help in Cuba, Lorene and Glen moved west to help rebuild the trading post business there.

Early in their marriage, Lorene and Glen’s attempts at starting a family were a heartbreaking series of miscarriages and infant deaths. They were able, however, to take in the children of Lorene’s sister, Aline, while she was ill. Chris and Mike Bannon were like sons, and Lorene cherished her relationships with them throughout her life. Lorene and Glen were eventually blessed with two children of their own, Glenda and Karl.

Relocating to Albuquerque, Lorene eventually worked as a consumer educator and finally a residential aide at Job Corps, where she changed lives, often bringing troubled young people to her home for a reset or rest. She worked nights, where she felt most effective, and where she could earn enough to send her own children to excellent schools.

Lorene joined Glen operating a store in Navajo, NM, where she ran a very successful food counter. Again, she took an interest in counseling and encouraging her employees, who loved her.

Lorene loved to travel. She visited Europe, China, Canada, Mexico, and cruised through the Panama Canal, but she also enjoyed spontaneous day trips.

Lorene and Glen retired in Carlsbad, NM, where they took an active interest in their grandchildren, and their church. Lorene spent her last years in the household and loving care of her daughter, Glenda Sauer and Glenda’s husband Steve.

Lorene’s son Karl Vannest and his wife Vikki have recently retired in Carlsbad from Alaska, where Lorene loved to visit.

Lorene will be remembered for her ready smile, her service to others, and her determined common sense approach to life.

Lorene was preceded in passing by her parents, her sister Aline Vigil, her brother Shelby Johnson, and her husband Glen Vannest.

Lorene is survived by;

Brother RW Johnson (Elizabeth), Daughter Glenda Sauer (Steve), Son Karl Vannest (Vikki), Five grandchildren and three great grandchildren; Jeff Sauer (Sharon) and their daughters Glenda and Zoe, Hannah Sauer Magness (Jake), Sarah Lehleitner (Dave) and their daughter Isla, Amy Vannest, and Kiersten Vannest, and other numerous nieces, nephews, and personal friends.

Lorene will have a life celebration gathering at New Song Christian Fellowship at 1105 N Pate St in Carlsbad, NM on August 2, 2018 at 1 pm with John Burke officiating.

A brief graveside service will be held at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul Blvd, Albuquerque, NM on August 4 at 10:30 am followed by an afternoon of reminiscing and celebration of her life. Donations to Carlsbad Foundation Memorial Benches at 114 S Canyon, Carlsbad, NM 88220 in lieu of flowers.

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