Lola Risbell | Passages

Lola Risbell

Our beloved mother and grandmother Lola D. Risbell, Aug. 16, 1927 – May 23, 2009, fought a brave and courageous battle against cancer. She fought it with dignity and grace and is at peace now.

She leaves behind four children, Becki Day, Riley Risbell (Cherie Maxwell-Risbell). David Risbell, Kelly Risbell (Kathy Risbell); three grandchildren, Rachael, Casey and Cameron Risbell; and many nieces and nephews.

Lola was born in Seattle. She was adopted by the Dale family, now deceased: her parents, Dr. David H. and Lola Dale; and brothers, Dr. David W. Dale and Dwyer Dale. She graduated from Garfield High School (1945) and Seattle University (1950), where she received her BA in history.

In 1950, she married the love of her life, the late Albert C. Risbell. They moved to Bellevue in 1955, became parishioners of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and settled down to raise their family. Lola became a widow at age 30, and devoted the rest of her life to her children and grandchildren and helping others.

She was a lover of cats. She always had a feline companion by her side. As the family expanded over the years, she devoted her life to helping her children raise their families, whether it was the children or the cats and dogs.

After being a widow for six years, the late Father Gerald T. Moore hired Lola to be the secretary for Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School, where she worked for the next eight years. Lola then went on to work for the phone company, then Pacific Northwest Bell, until retirement in 1992.

In between working full time, volunteering for the St. Joan’s Guild, raising four children and running a household, she sewed all her own clothes, knit all of the family’s sweaters, mittens and hats and took care of all household repairs.

Upon retirement in 1992 from Pacific Northwest Bell, Lola joined the Pioneers, where she served on the Board of Directors as the recording secretary. While taking up exercise classes, she grew restless with all of her spare time in retirement and started working at Bellevue Square as one of the information ladies. She worked there until 2000, when she moved to Friday Harbor to begin a new journey in her life until her passing.

She began her final decade by volunteering at the San Juan Island Library, for Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor (of which she became an honorary member) and Mullis Community Senior Center. For two summers, she worked at Roche Harbor Resort as the day hostess for McMillin’s Dining Room. She continued to enjoy her exercise classes, running errands and volunteering, and still found time to devote herself to her children and grandchildren.

She touched the lives of many and will always be remembered for her sense of humor, her grace and dignity, her devotion to her family, and the sparkle in her eyes when she talked of all of them, their pets and their accomplishments.

A celebration of her life will be held on June 7, 2009 at 1 p.m. at the Roche Harbor Resort Pavilion, 248 Reuben Memorial Drive, Roche Harbor. A memorial fund in Lola Risbell’s name has been set up at Islanders Bank, P.O. Box 909, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

— The family of Lola Risbell