About Cleora Catherine Mersdorf (Smith)
Cleora Catherine Mersdorf, 93, of Eugene, passed away July 18, 2013 from age related causes. She was born in Springfield, Oregon on December 9, 1919 to John and Catherine Smith. She always told the story of how she was born in a small farm house during a snowstorm, weighing only 3 1/2 lbs. Her head was so small it could fit in a tea cup.
Cleora attended St. Mary High School and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1941. She was a 3rd generation Oregonian, a descendant of one of the first 10 Catholic families in the Eugene area. At the U of O she was active in Newman Club and was successful in securing the Catholic Bishop and U of O permissions to have Mass celebrated on campus. While in college she worked summers at McKenzie Bridge resorts to earn college tuition money. She married Frank Mersdorf in 1941.
Cleora taught in the 4J School District for 18 years. She was instrumental in starting one of Eugene's first Alternative Schools: The Corridor School at Silver Lea. She was affiliated with the Three Rivers Girl Scouts for 15 years as a leader. She was active her entire life in St. Mary's Parish and wrote the Church history for the parish's 100 year anniversary. At the time of her death she was the longest registered parishioner of the parish. She was a member of Catholic Daughters for over 60 years and the Holy Names Associates. Cleora was recognized as an outstanding Marist High School alumnus and was enrolled in the school Blue & Gold Hall of Fame in 1993. Cleora traveled far and wide with the Obsidians. She enjoyed hours of pinochle and Skip Bo with her many good card playing friends. She spent hours in her flower beds and loved to read historical fiction. Some of her other memberships included the Eugene Eagles, TOPS, and Eugene Friendship Club.
Cleora was a woman of strong Faith. She will be remembered for her positive attitude and outlook on life, her generosity, and unconditional love for all those around her. She will be missed by her many friends at Churchill Estates where she has lived the last six years. In the last year she was tenderly cared for by the Churchill staff along with Hospice of Sacred Heart.
Cleora is survived by her three daughters and sons-in-law: Corrinn & Harvey Waldron III of Bellevue, Washington; Sue Ellen & Ray Hallett of Veneta; Lola Lee & Mike Johnson of Gresham, Oregon. Also six granddaughters, four great-grandchildren and sister Jeannette Forsman of Eugene. Cleora was preceded in death by her husband Frank in 1990, grandson Buddy Waldron in 1993 and sister Roine Dillingham in 2012. Remembrances may be made to Marist High School, St. Vincent De Paul or Hospice of Sacred Heart.
Visitation will be held at Poole-Larsen Funeral Home on Monday July 22 from 4pm to 7pm with a vigil service starting at 7pm. On Tuesday July 23 Recitation of the Rosary will be held at 11:30am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary Catholic Church at 12:15pm. Committal following at 3:00pm Mt. Calvary Cemetery Eugene. Poole-Larsen was entrusted with arrangements. Please see the obituary and sign the guestbook at musgroves.com
Published in Eugene Register-Guard on July 21, 2013