Florene Sanders Quamme was born in eastern Oklahoma. She was delivered by a midwife and her mother died not long after. She was raised by her Grandmother and Grandfather and other relatives and friends. Her father was not a permanent figure in her childhood but she did speak of trips with him occasionally. Her early school years were in small towns in eastern and southern Oklahoma near the Red River. Florene’s High School years were at Geary Oklahoma. She was a member of the Geary Baptist Church and Geary Free Methodist Church.
In 1950 Florene married Halbert Killough. They lived on a farm near Erick, Oklahoma. They had Rick while in this area. They then moved to Geary and ran a restaurant for a short period. Eventually Moving back to Geary to help with her grandparents who had both become totally blind. Soon Florene and Hal bought a farm NW of Geary. This is where Pam showed up. For most summers Florene and Hal were custom harvesters following the harvest north through the plains up to North Dakota. After a few years Kaye and Robert joined the family in quick succession. Halbert died in May 1970. Florene and kids continued the wheat harvest but lost the farm. Florene moved into Geary for the next couple of years and worked as a waitress at the two restaurant’s in town supporting her family. Eight hours at one then eight hours at the other. Pam remembers getting away with a few things at this time because her mom was so tired she would say “yes” to anything in the eight hours she wasn’t at work!
Florene formed a relationship with Edward Quamme while harvesting in North Dakota in 1971. They were married and moved her trailer and kids north of Haynes, North Dakota. Florene became a member of the Lutheran Church. Florene continued to make the harvest with her family and the help of hired hands of young ages, every summer. Florene’s fifth and last child, Herbert, was born in December of 1974. (There was a vacancy…Pam and Rick was married that year!) Florene took up employment at the Hillcrest Care Center not long after Herb was born. She also continued to follow the harvest trail each summer. Rick and Pam and their spouse’s joined the crew. It was a real “family affair”!
Florene usually lined up the jobs and handled the customers. She was the “real boss” of the outfit but never acted like it. She still managed to cook, do laundry, and chase kids! She prided herself in being a hard worker and could usually outwork anyone around! She divorced in 1984. Herb stayed in the home with his dad so Florene always tried to rent houses close to the Quamme farm so she could spend as much time as possible raising him. Usually a farm house where she could raise a garden and or pigs or whatever farm animal she could get her hands on. Always the” farm girl” at heart! Florene’s father moved in with her in the late 1980’s. Florene finally had a relationship with her dad that she had ever had before. She cared for him until his death in 1991. Florene was born to be a “caregiver” and did so for so many people who crossed her path. It was her true calling.
Florene continued to work at the nursing home but to add to her income she began working extra jobs around Hettinger. She had numerous jobs for different businesses and people around the Hettinger area. Florene got a part-time job at McFarland’s restaurant waitressing and eventually let Eugene McFarland take her on a date. That began a relationship that lasted until his death in 2000.
She bought a home in Hettinger in 2001 and spent the remaining years of her life remodeling her home, gardening and keeping grandkids. Florene was a transplant from the south but loved North Dakota. It became her home. Although she visited Oklahoma and got a little homesick for the trees where she grew up, she loved the place she lived the best! She had a great life and made many friends whom she never forgot and continued to cherish. She always said “My children are my greatest accomplishment and I’m proud of every one of them”.
Florene leaves a legacy of hard work and never give up to all her children and grandchildren and those who have been born and will be born, from her. Florene passed away Thursday, January 31, 2019 at her home in Hettinger, North Dakota at the age of 84.
She is survived by four children, Pam Mull and husband Roy Mull of Geary, OK, Amanda Kaye Senn and husband Steve Senn of Bison, SD, Robert Killough and wife Bonnie Killough of Hettinger, ND, and Herbert Quamme and wife Michelle Quamme of Mott, ND, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a daughter-in-law, Karen Killough of Bismarck, ND.
Florene was preceded in death by her parents, William and Ethel Sanders, a husband, Halbert E. Killough, a son, Richard Keith Killough, and a great grandson, Aiden Reign Venner and her sister, Diane Neighbors.
In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established.
Condolences may be sent through our website at www.evansonjensenfuneralhome.com.