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Florence A. Caisse

September 6, 1927 - December 26, 2021


Florence A. Caisse


1927 – 2021


Born in California to Wilfred and Edna Barnholt in 1927, Florence Anna Caisse was the second of four children, with brothers Bill and Ray, and a sister, Helen. Florence spent most of her childhood in northern Washington, where the family moved before Florence was school age.

Growing up on a farm near the ocean sparked a lifelong love of the natural world for Florence. She recounted many fond memories of her close-knit family and life on the farm in those days, from the family churning butter and her father reading to the children by kerosene lamp, to how the family gathered around the radio to hear their favorite shows on Sundays and took family trips to the bay to dig for clams.

For Florence, wealth was found in family, in music, and in the meaningful, large and small moments experienced each day. As an adult, Florence enjoyed trips to the coast, taking in the salt air, listening to the waves, and revisiting her childhood family excursions. Florence was happiest when experiencing the love of home, place, and belonging we all may find when we stop to look. She enjoyed gardening, and could often be found in her back yard working among the blooming flowers and ripening vegetables she had planted.

Florence considered her greatest achievement in life the raising of her five children, and instilling in them her commitment to lifelong learning and responsibility to family and community. Florence had a playful, disarming sense of humor that was at once intelligent and gentle, and she passed this characteristic on to her children, as well. Florence loved sharing humorous stories of memorable events in the family history, and treasured hearing the same tales retold by the younger generation.

Coming from a musical family, where her father played the fiddle, and her mother played the pump organ, Florence took up the organ herself, and learned to play many classic tunes. In childhood, Florence and her sister would harmonize with their mother while she played the organ. Florence loved to sing, and sang in church and community choirs for many years.

During her first marriage, Florence lived in Bellingham, Washington and St. Helens, Oregon, and during her second marriage, in Salem, Oregon. When Florence’s second husband died from a sudden illness, she was widowed while still in her early 40’s, with two children still at home, and began working for various state agencies in administrative roles. Nearing retirement, Florence moved to the Portland area.

Florence Anna Caisse passed away on the 26th of December. Florence remained a compassionate and kind person throughout her 94 years, a person who cared for family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. Florence recognized the humanity in every person she met. For family and friends, Florence was a person you could talk to, someone who knew, understood, and loved you, and no matter your strengths and weaknesses, trusted you to find your way.

Florence Caisse was preceded in death by a son, two brothers, a sister, and her husband. Florence is survived by four children, ten grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service for Florence Caisse at The Church at Rockwood on January 16, 2021 at 12:30 PM.

Donations may be made in Florence’s memory to the ALS Association or The Church at Rockwood.

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