Lela Belle McConnell (Allen) Olson, 90, passed Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Moses Lake, surrounded by her beloved children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She was born May 19, 1930, in Fruitland, Idaho to parents William Huff McConnell and Beulah (Stuart) McConnell. Lela moved with her parents and brother to Hermiston in 1940. Lela’s first two years in Hermiston were spent living in a tent with her family during WWII, at a property on 11th street, while her dad helped build the Umatilla Ordnance Depot. This “camp ground” was made up of about 60 camp sites with six outdoor toilets provided, and became known as Tertle Town. As both parents were needed to work, Lela’s older brother, Warren, was in charge of babysitting her each day. He was only 8 years old when given the responsibility to care for a 3 year old. After graduating from Hermiston High School in 1948 she herself worked at the Depot. Her job title was Supervisory Clerk Typist. She supervised three other women, and her boss was Willard Baker, who eventually became her uncle in-law.
In 1954 Lela met a US Navy Frogman named Gene Lowell Allen while he was home on leave. They married September 17th, 1955, in Boardman, OR. From this union, were born four children, Stacie, Stuart, Stephanie and Scott. Lela later married Army Intelligence officer, Andrew Olson in 1993 who passed away in 2007.
Rumor has it Lela was invited to New York City to dance with the Rockettes. While her parents wouldn’t let her go East, her high kicking skills would come in handy as she entered and won several local dance competitions. Her earlier favorite dance was the jitterbug, while in later years she could “cut a rug” dancing the country two-step. Her continued dexterity was often commented on by her caretakers. They were continually amazed with some of her physical abilities. Later in life she also enjoyed traveling, jewelry making and rock/gem collecting. She never met a stranger making most people laugh- sometimes at her, sometimes with her.
She is survived by her 4 children; Stacie (Craig) Palmer, Stuart (Sarah) Allen, Stephanie (Ed) Allen Washington and Scott (Barbara) Allen and grandkids Ryan (Tamara) Palmer, Todd (CJ) Palmer, Matthew (Karly) Palmer, Chad (Valarie) Palmer, Lizzy Allen, Carly Allen, Clayton Allen, Nathanael Allen, Joshua Allen and 9 great grandchildren; Kash, Mason, Harper, Taric, Tate, Shae, Capri, Libby, Archer with another one on the way. She is also survived by her older Brother, Warren McConnell, whom she adored immensely.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. at the Hermiston Cemetery. Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.
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