Alma Nora Stephens-McCarren
1921 - 2020
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December 8, 1921 ˜ September 3, 2020

Alma Nora Stephens McCarren, age 98, went to be with her Lord on Sept. 3, 2020, in Vancouver, WA, with her daughter by her side. She was born Dec. 8, 1921, in Ponsford, MN, to John and Meta (Blauert) Wettels, the fifth of 10 children.
Alma grew up on a farm where her father operated a logging and saw mill business, owned a threshing machine and two steam engines used for threshing fields on the Ponsford prairie and 30 head of dairy cows. This created a lot of work and the need for hired help, in addition to the family, and resulted in much daily activity. Many stories were told of long days of hard work but Friday and Saturday nights were filled with music and dancing.
Alma stayed on the farm until 1943 when she ventured west to Portland, OR. There she became a welder and worked at the shipyards on Swan Island building tankers. After the war, she returned to Minnesota and married her fiance, Bill Stephens, a Marine in World War II. They eventually moved to Vancouver and in 1952, Alma went to work for Jantzen Knitting Mills.
After her daughter was born, she became a full-time homemaker and was very involved at Memorial Lutheran Church.
From 1955 until 1974, Alma and Bill owned a cabin at Lake Merwin. Many family and church gatherings and hunting trips took place at this cabin and the memories created there are still shared. The phrase, ”Remember Stephens’ cabin?” has been a common refrain over the years.
In 1987, Alma’s husband Bill passed away and in 1990, she married Bud McCarren, an old friend from Minnesota. They lived in Yelm, WA, and were married 17 years before Bud’s passing in December 2007.
Alma was a compassionate person and possessed a strong faith in her savior, Jesus Christ. She created a warm and secure home for her daughter where they had many late night conversations. She also shared her time and resources with organizations close to her heart such as Open House Ministries, Veterans organization and knitting numerous caps for St. Labre Indian School to name a few. In her time living at VanMall Retirement and Bonaventure of Salmon Creek, Alma was known for her card playing, especially Pinochle, and working puzzles. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and sister. Her affection and support of her family as well as the many stories of growing upon the farm and shipyard days will be missed.
Alma will be lovingly remembered by her daughter, Roxanne (Jon) LaFave; grandsons, Jordan (Kelly), Michael and Stephen; great-grandson, Kade; and sister, Mary Ann Svenkesen.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, Bill Stephens; second husband, Lawrence (Bud) McCarren; parents; three sisters, Ida, Alvina and LuElla; and five brothers, John, Otto, Carl, Ervin and Harold (Bud).
Donations can be made to Open House Ministries, Vancouver.
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Published in The Columbian on Oct. 18, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
October 23, 2020
We have many wonderful memories of spending time at the Stephen's Cabin. Both from our family times there (us Schroeders) and also church youth group activities.
Carol Rumsch
October 23, 2020
I remember spending time up at the family cabin on Merwin and every Friday or at least a few times during week Alma and Bill and my folks and the Hudson's would play cards and us kids would play outside till it was dark out and then we would come in and play games on the coffee table. I know when we would come out to Their house it was a good time. I will miss Alma I still drive by her house out in Hazel Dell and remember the good times that we had there. Roxanne you were the shining light in your folks eyes you were very special child and lucky to have them as your parents. Your mom will always be in my heart and my memories. you may contact me if you wish.
Debbie -Greenen Hren
October 19, 2020
I remember spending time at there cabin at Merwin Lake as part of a youth group from Memorial Lutheran Church. One of the best times ever.
Ronald Holland
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