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Graveside Service

Reedley Cemetery District
Friday June 17th, 2022

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Memorial Service

Dopkins Reedley Funeral Chapel
Friday June 17th, 2022

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Luella Unruh

Luella (Lentzner/Toews) Unruh was born on 11/8/1917 in Larslan, Montana, Luella was the 3rd child of Gustav and Sarah Wiens Lentzner. Her father was a school teacher by trade; he also served in the Imperial Russian Army. He escaped from Russia with his wife and daughter, Kathryn, under an assumed name, in 1914. After arriving in Canada by boat, their second child, Eddie, was born in Herbert, Saskatchewan. When an opportunity was offered by the US government to homestead in Montana, the family moved to Larslan. Luella was born during World War 1 on her parent's farm in what was later known as the "bunk house." The family lived in a one bedroom home until she was five or six. They also had a "summer" house which was used for cooking and baking to keep their home cool.

Despite the difficulties of homesteading, Luella remembers a happy childhood. As children, they played hopscotch, horseshoes, baseball and walked on stilts. It was a big deal when they got a radio in the home which was hooked up to a large battery. Her chores growing up consisted of washing dishes, feeding chickens, milking cows, hoeing weeds in the garden, and burning thistles in spring. They went to elementary school in Larslan by horse and buggy. In the winter when the ground was frozen the horse pulled them in a covered sled. Eddie drove the horse and later she drove it. Luella's favoring subject was reading. She did well at school and finished early, skipping the 8th grade. The down side was that she had to stay home where she became bored! She remembered the Great Depression years and how her mother used her checks from selling cream to buy clothes for her children. When she was very young, families got together in homes to worship. As a young girl, Luella repented of her sins and put her faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. She was baptized in August 1932. One of her favorite verses was John 3:16. 

Luella shared the lesson she learned from her father is that hard work pays off and you can make something of yourself. From her mother, she learned to be a homemaker and to always see to the needs of her family. 

After her schooling in Larslan, Luella attended Bible School in Lustre, Montana which 30 miles away. She boarded there and did not get to go home that often. While there, she learned to know many in the community including the large Abram Toews family, whose son, Abe she would later marry. She eventually moved to Glasgow where she worked as a waitress, baby sitter, house cleaner, and grocery clerk. She earned approximately $20.00 a month. Others from the rural areas were also in Glasgow, working and going to school there. Soon, she started spending more time with Abe Toews who was working there as well. Luella and Abe were married on 9/24/1944 in Larslan, Montana. After they were married, Abe started farming but also started supplementing his income by working at a Chevy garage. They purchased land shortly after marriage in Lustre where they raised their family. The initial one bedroom home expanded with subsequent children. Their first son, David Toews, was born prematurely and died at birth. Luella and Abe joyously welcomed four additional children following their heartbreak. Sharon was born on 10/22/1946, Gordon on 4/12/1950, Marcella on 11/25/1952, and Dale on 11/12/1956. 

Luella's first husband, Abe, preceded her in death on 6/29/1968, following 23 years of marriage. Luella married David K. Unruh on 10/19/1973. David also preceded her in death on 5/10/1996, following a 22-year marriage. Luella enjoyed an expanding family following marriages and the birth of grandchildren on both sides of her family. David and Luella traveled extensively during their marriage, going to countless countries across the globe. A memorable trip was when David and Luella each took their children and spouses on a private tour group to the Holy Land. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to all be together and experience the land where Jesus walked. 

Luella was actively involved in making quilts in the women's sewing circle at the Lustre Mennonite Brethren Church. She was known for the gladiolas she grew in the garden and often brought a bouquet to the church on a summer Sunday morning. Luella had a large garden on the farm where she grew enough vegetables to last a year by freezing and canning her crop. Luella was known for her cooking and baking. She could quickly put together a home cooked meal without a recipe. Her pies cannot be matched! Her grandchildren have fond memories of fresh baked zwieback, cinnamon rolls and Easter bread. 

Others preceding her in death include her parents, Gustav Lentzner (4/12/1966) and Sarah Wiens Lentzner (5/21/1985), brother Eddie Lentzner (10/9/1965) and sister Kathryn Lentzner Torres (4/16/2012). Her sons, David, Gordon and Dale also preceded their mother in death. (David on 5/12/1945, Gordon on  9/14/1983 and Dale on 9/1/1994) in addition, she also lost her son-in-law, Don Klassen on 4/10/2015. In her own words, she said, "the most difficult thing I had to do was to bury my sons. No mother should have to experience that but God gives grace in all situations. The main thing is keep your faith and God will see you through." Her faith was unwavering throughout the tragedies in her life. 

She possessed great fortitude by focusing on life's blessings. Luella remained steadfast, demonstration great strength throughout each chapter in her life. Those who knew her at Palm Village, where she spent the last 21 years, remarked at her strength and determination to remain independent. It wasn't until she became physically weak during her last months that she was moved to skilled nursing 10 days before her death. She passed away peacefully on 05/24/2022 at the age of 104 with her two daughters by her side. The family finds great comfort knowing that she is in the presence of Jesus with her loved ones who have gone before her. One of her favorite verses is from Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ."

Luella is survived by two daughters, Sharon Klassen and Marcella "Marcy" Unruh, son in law, Sid Unruh, five grandchildren, Don R Klassen and his wife, MaryAnn Klassen, Rachelle Klassen Egli and her husband, Jason Egli, Angela Unruh Hibbs, Colleen Unruh Sherman and her husband, Kyle Sherman, Greg Klassen and his wife, Barbara Best Klassen; 15 great grandchildren-Casey Klassen, Grace Klassen, Molly Klassen, Rebekah Egli, Karis Egli, Andrew Egli, Tyler Egli, Braden Hibbs, Ava Hibbs, Rowan Sherman, Sawyer Sherman and Hazel Sherman. 

From her second marriage, she is survived by 6 step-children, David Unruh, Frank Unruh, Anna Marie Davis, Lillian Schwartz, Linda Bloom, and Francis Unruh. Her step son, Neil Unruh and step-daughter, Elizabeth Unruh, have preceded her in death. She also leaves behind 14 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. 

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I remember back in the 50’s when the Unruh/just families gathered at El Monte Park for barbecue/picnics and badminton games. Such good times.
She was a wonderful lady.

Carolyn Just Moshier Jun 6 2022 2:26 PM