Lois Marie AmRhein was born on July 3, 1927, the only child of Frances Taylor and Otto Northey. While she was born in San Luis Obispo, her family roots in Aptos go back to the 1870’s and Aptos was always home and family for Lois.
She began her early life on the family ranch on Fern Flat Rd. and attended Aptos grammar school where her mother was a teacher. Lois had many memories of life in the 1930’s around Aptos, Fern Flat and Valencia areas. She was able to leave behind an oral history of many of those memories.
When Lois’s mother got an advanced teaching position in Oceano, Lois moved to Pismo Beach where she spent the War years and graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 1945. The War years deeply affected Lois. There was a large Japanese American population in the area at the time and Lois never forgot the sadness of seeing her class mates deported to the internment camps. Lois also told stories of sitting with her mother for hours as civilian volunteers in a watch tower on Pismo beach looking for on-coming enemy aircraft and submarines. She attended Fresno State University, did a post graduate program at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City and then returned to teach High School in Ripon, California. But, she always returned to Aptos and spent the summers at the Bay View Hotel which was owned by her cousins.
It was there that she met the love of her life, Raymond AmRhein, a transplanted Indiana farm boy, World War II Navy veteran and aspiring lawyer who enjoyed the good food and family atmosphere at the Hotel. Lois and Ray married in February 1957, and after a honeymoon trip to Death Valley in their shiny pink and grey 1955 Chevy Bel Air V8, they returned to build a law business in Watsonville and a family in Pleasant Valley.
Even though Lois was naturally shy, she was always engaged especially with the youth of the local community. She was a founding member of the St. Pius X Guild which led to the formation of Holy Eucharist Parish in Corralitos. She was a Cub Scout leader, and a long time 4-H leader and supporter of Camp Loma. She taught catechism at Holy Eucharist Parish, junior high elective classes at Notre Dame grammar school, and was a substitute teacher in the PVUSD during the difficult years of the teacher strike. Lois and Ray were founding members of the Agricultural History Project. Lois was also a long time member of the YLI.
Lois completed a circle in her life and died peacefully on December 4th in Aptos. Lois leaves behind daughter Margaret, daughter Katherine and her husband Larry Jellison, and son Thomas, his wife Susan and their three children, Yuan, Aaron and Ricardo. Lois also leaves behind her dear cousin Patricia Thompson, as well as her cousins Gail Toney and Robert Champlain.
The family thanks the dedicated care givers who took such good care of Lois, and her dedicated friends, particularly those from the YLI who visited her regularly right up her passing.
The family suggests donations in Lois’s memory be made to the Agricultural History Project or the Young Ladies Institute Scholarship Fund, PO Box 173, Watsonville, CA.
A funeral Mass will be said at Our Lady Help of Christians Church on Monday December 16th at 10:00 am. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery.
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