Lorene Bangert Emmerson

Lorene Bangert Emmerson, a longtime active Columbia community member, died on Thursday, Sept.16, 2010 from multiple system atrophy. She was 85.

Born in Osage Beach on Sept. 24, 1924 to Verna West and James Bangert, Mrs. Emmerson later moved to Columbia and attended Hickman High School and MU. She received her bachelor's degree in biology in 1946, bachelor's degree in education in 1948, and a master's degree in psychology in 1951.

While at MU, Mrs. Emmerson participated in organizations including Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Alpha, Alpha Pi Zeta and Psi Chi. Later, she moved to Marshall where she taught high school biology, psychology and general science for 32 years.

She married George C. Emmerson in 1955 in Marshall. Her husband died of a heart attack on Christmas Day in 1979.

Mrs. Emmerson moved back to Columbia in 1983 after she retired from Marshall High School. As she was taking classes at MU, she became involved with the League of Women Voters of Columbia—Boone County, Boone County Democratic Party, Central Missouri Human Society, Boone Hospital Center, University of Missouri Health Information Center and American Cancer Society.

“Her volunteer work was what kept her going,” said Karalene Lynch, Mrs. Emmerson's niece.

Friendly, outgoing and always active, Mrs. Emmerson was well known to the members of the League of Women Voters. The league honored her with the Eleanor Goodge Award for exemplary service. She also received the Margaret Morgett Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boone County Democratic Party.

“This is not a person who gave up, “ said Elaine Blodgett, former president of the league.

Liz Schmidt, treasurer of the league, said she and Emmerson often sang as suffrage singers. They performed at the steps of Union Station in St. Louis for former Gov. Bob Holden's inauguration. When the league sponsored forums for candidates to speak about their ideas, Mrs. Emmerson would use a stopwatch to time the candidates.

“She was very lively and very hospitable,” Schmidt said.

Mrs. Emmerson often hosted the league's weekly meetings at her home. Schmidt said she and Mrs. Emmerson used to count absentee ballots by hand together for the county clerk.

Though she never had any children of her own, Mrs. Emmerson loved spending time with her nieces and nephews.

“She’s more like a sister to me than an aunt,” said Lynch, who was 10 years younger than Mrs. Emmerson. The two spent so much time together that Mrs. Emmerson was her matron of honor.

James Prewitt, Mrs. Emmerson's nephew, said he remembers being visited by Mrs. Emmerson when she was studying for her master’s degree at MU. They would sneak to the MU campus to pick gooseberries at night, he said. Prewitt was 10 at the time.

Mrs. Emmerson is survived by her sister, Ilene Bangert Ford of Columbia; her sister-in-law, Grace Emmerson Johnson of Springfield; and 15 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Reynolds Alumni Center, 107 Conley Road.

Contributions may be given to the League of Women Voters of Columbia—Boone County, the Central Missouri Human Society, Columbia Second Chance, or Happy Tails animal sanctuary.