Laurena Winifred Kennison Vance

Laurena Kennison High School - 1948

Laurena Winifred Kennison was born on April 24th, 1930 to Harry Alvin and Edna Winifred (Weaver) Kennison in Wallowa, Oregon. She was named after her Uncle Billy Kennison’s wife. (Billy had passed away in 1922.) Laurena was the youngest of three children, joining her sister Shirley and her brother Harry in the family.

When Laurena was only four years old, her dad passed away of a sudden heart attack in December of 1934.  The family struggled on until 1940 when Laurena’s mom married Trell Coleman.  Laurena was almost ten years old at the time and Trell was a wonderful stepdad.

Laurena Winnifred Kennison

(Laurena, age 13)

Laurena went to Wallowa High School, graduating in 1948.  I think that the first photo above is her senior picture. I love that her signature is on it.

As soon as Laurena graduated from high school, she married Ray Thomas Vance. The wedding took place on the 23rd of May, 1948.  Laurena was eighteen years old.

Laurena Kennison and her cat

Nine years later the couple was blessed a son, Kenton.

Vance, Ray and Laurena Kennison 15th wedding anniversary

(Ray and Laurena celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.)

The couple had moved to Alaska fairly early in their marriage, I believe.

I did find two little mentions of her in the Sitka, Alaska newspaper.

From the Sitka Daily Sentinel, Sitka Alaska – September 1, 1982

Laurena Vance will speak on the importance of nutrition in the treatment of alcoholism. 

Then, May 5th, 1983:

Discussion leader will be Laurena Vance, SCAODA outpatient supervisor.

SCAODA is the State Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Laurena and Ray divorced at some point, but I’m not sure the dates on that either.

Laurena was living in Salem, Oregon when she passed away.  She had a form a leukemia and I remember that she had been tired, bone weary, really. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with leukemia only a couple of short weeks before she passed away. She was 72 years old and passed away on the 16th of March, 2003 just shy of her 73rd birthday.

I personally barely remember Laurena and Ray, except for some reason I can clearly remember the raspy sound of my Aunt Laurena’s voice and her laugh. There are a lot of holes that I’m hoping family members can fill in with Laurena’s story.  Can you help?  Please either leave a comment here or send me a private message. Thank you!

Kennison, Laurena Line

(Laurena is my great-aunt. She is my dad’s mother’s sister.)


“Her hair was naturally curly as was Edna Weaver Kennison’s hair.” ~ Kara Kennison


10 thoughts on “Laurena Winifred Kennison Vance

  1. I remember Laurena in Alaska when I was a little girl. She was a fun loving person. Once I was sleeping on the floor at Grandma & Grandpa Sannar’s house out of Ketchikan. Nice & cozy in my blankets. Laurena came home & would have none of that. In her raspy voice she said honey you can’t sleep on the floor. There is plenty of room in the bed with me. I climbed up into the bed & didn’t sleep a wink listening to Aunt Laurena’s snore.


  2. Hello! I am so surprised to have stumbled upon this page. Laurena was my grandmother – I am one of her two granddaughters – daughter of her only son Kenton. I would love to connect more and share what I know!
    ~Lindy Boustedt (Vance)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lindy! I’m glad you did stumble on to Finding Promise! Your dad and my dad are first cousins. It was wonderful to be able to visit with him recently at MaryDee Kennison’s memorial service. I would love to hear your stories about your grandmother and any other family stories that you have. Please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you! ~Paula


      • Hi, Laurena was my mother-in-law from 1990 until her passing in 2003. I was blessed to meet many of the family members and enjoyed some great times with them. I still
        AM blessed to have 2 lovely stepdaughter from this marriage.
        It was very cool to see this. Thanks to Lindy.


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