Loretta Ann Wilhelm Jepson, age 88, passed away April 11, 2023 at her residence. Loretta was welcomed by her parents, Bill and Charlotte Wilhelm and sister Charleen (Perkins), on her birth in Kalispell, Montana on October 5, 1934. In a few short years, younger sisters Roberta (Bobbi Luke) and Christine (Chris Schutlz) would round out what would be the “Wilhelm Girls.”
Loretta was raised on the Hawkins’ family homestead in Proctor, Loretta attended the two-room schoolhouse just down the hill from the family home. She attended Polson High School and participated on the high school majorette team. Loretta graduated 1952. It would be in the next year that Loretta would meet Louis Jepson. A handsome “older” suitor who took her dancing on Saturday nights. Both Lou and Loretta became quite the duo, dancing their way to the altar on June 9, 1953, at First Presbyterian Church in Polson.
Having moved to Hamilton, LeRoy, Sandra (Johanesen) and Wesley expanded the family tree before Lou took an administrative position in Portland, Oregon. Once settled, the growing family welcomed Louis to complete their family.
Loretta and Lou found a new church home at Calvary Presbyterian in NE Portland. Teaching Sunday School and volunteering for the summer Vacation Bible Schools became a niche for Loretta, to later include a position as church secretary for several years. At the young age of 60, Loretta moved on to a position driving school bus in the Portland district.
These acts of service overflowed into other areas of community involvement. Loretta was a constant figure keeping score at Little League baseball games, serving on the PTA at the local schools, giving her time as Den Mother for Cub Scouts and later sewing badges for the Boy Scouts. Loretta was that behind-the-scenes supportive presence to Lou and the family.
Young or old, many came to call our beloved Loretta, “Mom.” Whether it was the neighborhood kids playing on the street, the high school guys after a rousing game of mud football, or just to hang out, young people found their way to the Jepson home. Loretta was always ready with a hot plate of food for whoever walked through the door.
Lou and Loretta decided to leave the growing city and return to their roots in Elmo, Montana. This is where Loretta and Lou would spend the remaining years of their lives.
After 54 years of marriage Lou passed away in 2007. Loretta’s sister Bobbi also preceded her in 2015.
Loretta is survived by her children: LeRoy (Cheryl) Jepson of Elmo; Sandra (Ron) Johanesen of Neotsu, Oregon; Wesley (Lauri) Jepson of Forest Grove, Oregon; Louis Jepson of Elmo; 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews, cousins, dear friends, and her sisters Charleen Perkins and Christine Schultz, both of Polson.