Scroggins, Lena G. 'Lee' (Kurtz) (21 Feb 1931 - 7 Sep 2015) [40053:N].
Daughter of Scroggins, Ulis Virgil (12 Dec 1902 - 11 Mar 1937) [40050:N].
Daughter of Scroggins, Grace Joesphine Muncy (Hadrian) (3 Nov 1907 - 7 Nov 2000) [46434:N] [FaG:60962102].
StatesmanJournal, Lee G. (Lena) Kurtz, 18 Oct 2015 [Legacy]
(Updated 17 Oct 2015).
Lee (Lena) G. Kurtz
February 21, 1931 - September 7, 2015
While being held in the arms of Greg [40054:N], her partner and husband of 54 years, Lee departed from her home in Salem, Oregon onward to the next stage of her journey out into the universe. She battled cancer for over 7 years, but except for her last few months, she was able to lead a full, active and happy life. She was able to approach the end of her life with incredible courage, dignity and honesty.
Lee was born to Ulis [40050:N] and Grace [46434:N] Scroggins in Hill City, Kansas. She was named Lena by her parents, but chose to be called Lee. She was one of seven children. In 1935, her family, like many others, was forced to leave for California because of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The family followed the path described by John Steinbeck in "The Grapes of Wrath" and depicted by Dorothea Lange in "An American Exodus". Her family eventually settled in the Long Beach, California area where she finished growing up. Her father was killed by a train that hit his car in 1937, leaving her mother to raise 7 children alone. During her childhood, Lee experienced true poverty and malnutrition.
In spite of growing up in poverty, Lee was able to pull herself up by the boot straps. While working full time, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Redlands in 1958 and a Master of Education degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1965. Her master's degree, of which she was justifiably very proud, was in the area of early childhood education and family life.
Although she did not have children of her own, she maintained a great love for young children and her lifelong career was closely involved with teaching early childhood education. In addition to being a teacher in schools in California and Oregon where she held teaching credentials, she also administered early childhood education centers and taught classes at community colleges.
Lee and Greg met at UCLA in 1961 and were married in 1965. Their journey together included moving back and forth from California to Oregon several times, where they lived in places such as Venice CA, Crescent City CA, Salem OR (where they spent the majority of their years during 3 different periods), Brookings OR and Morro Bay CA. Lee liked to spend time with Greg outdoors, camping and observing nature, especially birds, all along the west coast from Baja in Mexico to Alaska. To the great pleasure and health of Greg, Lee loved to cook, especially with healthy, organic food.
"Auntie Lee", as she was known by many, dearly loved all of her family. Whether near or far, she held them all close in her heart.
Lee is survived by her husband Greg (Gregory) Kurtz [40054:N] of Salem OR, a brother Boyd Scroggins [40051:N] of Wenatchee WA, a niece/daughter Michele Mac Neal [tbc] of La Crescenta CA and numerous more nieces, nephews, great/grandnieces and great/grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, Ivah [47278:N] and Ruby [47277:N], three brothers, Carl [38365:N], James [47279:N] and Hobart (" Sonny") [40052:N] and a niece/daughter Wrayanne Cisneros [tbc].
Lee was very friendly, loving, positive, optimistic and forgiving. She brought great joy not only to Greg, her family and friends, but also to the strangers that she was constantly meeting. No doubt because of her experiences growing up, she truly believed that all people are equal and she took the side of ordinary, humble, disadvantaged and impoverished people. The world surely needs a whole lot more like her and she will be greatly missed.
Published in StatesmanJournal on Oct. 18, 2015