November 8, 1921 - April 14, 2018
Alberta Echo Durham Apenes died peacefully, following a short illness, April 14th at home in her sleep.
Alberta was born November 8, 1921 in Buffalo, Harper County, Oklahoma to Albert L. and Esta Cline Durham, the only daughter and third of five children. When she was an infant, the family relocated to Burbank, California. In 1925, they moved to Ashland, Oregon, where her father started working for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Living in a home on Elizabeth Street, Alberta watched as Churchill Hall was built in 1926. The family later purchased a home on Church Street, where she grew up.
She was educated in Ashland schools Lincoln, Washington, and the old Junior High. In 1939, she graduated from Ashland Senior High and attended a couple of semesters at Southern Oregon.
She was employed at the Ashland Chamber of Commerce for several months and served as secretary to Senator Dunn at the Oregon State Legislature in Salem for one term.
In 1941, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the War Department in the Decorations and Awards Branch of the Adjutant General’s Department. After the war started, work took on a much faster pace with all the awards for combat. Alberta was eventually in charge of a group of women and wrote a manual of procedures for processing the paperwork on various awards to ensure consistency. In 1944, she transferred to New York City to an office on Wall Street, living on Staten Island.
Shortly after she started working in Washington, she met her future husband, Christian H. Apenes, who was working in the same office. They started discreetly dating, and on August 27, 1943, they were married at the Calvary Methodist Church in Washington. Her elder brother, Meredith Durham, who was on leave from the Army Air Corp, gave her away. At the rehearsal the night before, he joked he wasn’t going to “give her away but sell her for ration coupons.”
With the end of the war in 1945, she resigned her position with the War Department, and for the next twelve years she was a stay at home wife and mother, her son Carl and daughter Esta being born during those years. In 1957, she decided to return to work with the federal government, accepting a position with the Naval Research Laboratory in the Supply Division, eventually becoming a procurement officer. She stayed with this job until her retirement in June of 1974. The family then moved to Alberta’s hometown of Ashland, where she remained for the rest of her life.
Always active in the Methodist church, she became a fixture at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland. Alberta was involved in the UMW, serving as president more than once, as a member of the building committee, and was very involved in the Senior programs. The church was her second family, and she made many lifelong friends there.
Along with her church activity, Alberta enjoyed writing short stories, poetry, making birthday and anniversary cards which she sent to members of the church and family, crossword puzzles, gardening and traveling. In 2006, she took a six week long car trip across country with her daughter, Esta, visiting friends and family along the way and a few side trips for sightseeing. With all her traveling, she was able to say she had been in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico.
She is survived by her daughter; Esta A. Weaver and son-in-law Jared Weaver; grandsons, Denis Apenes and James Southwick; granddaughter, Jennifer Bregar; brother, Eldon Durham and sister-in-law, Delores; great-grandchildren, Hyrum, Ethan and Charlotte; and various nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Wilbur, Meredith and Glen Durham; husband, Christian Apenes; and son, Carl C. Apenes.
Interment will be at Mountain View Cemetery in Ashland, Oregon with a private family graveside service. A memorial service will be held May 19 at 11:00 am at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland for everyone.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First United Methodist Church, 175 North Main St., Ashland, OR 97520 to their missionary funds.
The family also wish to extend their sincere gratitude to all the staff, nurses and volunteers from Providence Hospice. Their kindness and gentle care made the time easier for her in her final months.