Lois Hungerford: A Life of Service
Lois Fey Hungerford died peacefully at her daughter’s home on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, age 97 years. She was the daughter of Lydia (Tellefson) and William Fey and a third-generation American whose grandparents had emigrated from Norway, Sweden and England.
Lois was born April 6, 1926 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and graduated from Battin High School in 1944. She showed early talent as an artist and seamstress who often designed her own clothing. In 1946, she met her future husband, William Brown Hungerford, at the First Baptist Church in Elizabeth. They were married there in 1948.
The couple settled first in Scotch Plains, N.J., where their three daughters were born, and moved to Westfield in 1960. William’s career as a chemical engineer with Exxon spanned almost forty years. His work provided opportunities for the family to live abroad and to travel widely. William died in 1996.
Lois’ life was devoted to the daily practice of her deep faith. She was a member of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church for more than 40 years, serving in many capacities. Though softspoken, she was a leader among the women of the church. She founded and led a prayer group for decades, as well as serving at different times as a youth group leader, deacon, and scholarship provider. She also volunteered with a community crisis hotline. She believed that her life’s purpose was to serve God by serving others, that love always wins, and that prayer is a powerful instrument of change.
The memories she shared of her childhood were dominated by the challenges of The Great Depression, a time of hardship that both she and William had experienced. They practiced and taught the values of frugality and the avoidance of waste, and the fruits of this thrift were generously shared with others throughout their lives. In the last twelve years of her life, Lois faced the challenge of progressing dementia. She handled her condition with boundless grace. Dementia was a crucible that distilled her essential nature. Loved by her caregivers, one nurse reported being woken during the night by Lois, who was tucking a blanket around her and asking if she was warm enough. Even at the last, Lois remained her essential self: loving, accepting, and grateful.
She is survived by her three daughters and their families. They are Lynn Hungerford and Paul Hariri, Leslie Hungerford and David McKinney, Laurie Hungerford and Paul Flint; grandchildren, Scott McKinney, Carolyn McKinney Sutherland, Lauren McKinney, Lindsey McKinney and Carlyn Flint; and great-grandchildren, Ryan McKinney, Christopher McKinney, Zachary Sutherland and Charlotte Sutherland. All of these and countless others were molded or influenced by her lifelong example of love, generosity, and faith. We are now her legacy.
February 8, 2024