Elizabeth Lautzenhiser Irvine, 1927 – 2020

Courtesy of the Express-News, 26 July 2020: Elizabeth Lautzenhiser Irvine died peacefully on July 16, 2020 in Nacogdoches, Texas, at the age of 93.

Elizabeth Irvine LautzenhiserElizabeth, known as Liz, was born July 5, 1927 to Roscoe and Mamie (Norton) Lautzenhiser in Baguio, Philippine Islands, where her parents were teachers. They lived most of the time in Manila, until the outbreak of WWII in 1941 at which time they were imprisoned by Japanese forces in Santo Tomas Internment Camp for the next three years. After the war ended, she and her parents moved to the United States. Liz attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In August of 1949, she married Walter Irvine (who, after spotting her playing in a women’s softball league and telling his friends “that’s the woman I am going to marry,” proceeded to start visiting the Whitman Library where she worked and, according to her, he checked out way more books than he ever read!) Together they raised four children while Walter’s career took the family to Seattle, Portland, Houston and San Antonio, and finally to Nacogdoches after his retirement.

Liz participated in numerous activities: troop leader, camp counselor and adult sponsor on many national/international trips with the Girl Scouts; docent at the Houston zoo; teaching swimming and life-saving classes for both the Red Cross and the San Antonio Police Department; PTA member and board member; several outreach programs with the Presbyterian church; San Antonio Citizens Police Academy; square dance club; canoeing club; camping outdoors; and travelling all over the world.

She was active with WWII veterans, and especially the American Ex-POW Association. She particularly enjoyed hosting and attending Ex-POW reunions, trips and activities. She remained close with the soldiers of the First Cavalry who liberated Santo Tomas Internment Camp, as well as her fellow internees, for the rest of her life. She published a book about her prison camp experience, Surviving the Rising Sun: My Family’s Years in a Japanese POW Camp, in 2010.

She loved animals and donated much of her time and money for their care.

Liz is survived by her children Cynthia Irvine (Glenn Coenen), Dennis Irvine (Carolyn Brightman), Susie Irvine and Debbie Hammack; grandchildren Jodi Hill (Duke) Pittman, Holli (Derek) Snyder, Whitney (John) Mignone, Mallory Andres (Matt Emmons), Jesse Coenen and Peter Coenen; great-grandchildren Jordan, Jaycee, Clayton, Wally, Arden and Ross; her beloved cat Squeaky; also nieces, nephews, extended family and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Walter Irvine, parents Roscoe and Mamie Lautzenhiser; baby brother Roscoe Lautzenhiser and grandson Oscar C. Hill IV.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Magnolia Court for their excellent and loving care for Liz during the past two years. She came to feel so comfortable there and couldn’t have found a more wonderful home for the last phase of her life.

Arrangements are under the direction of Cason-Monk Funeral Home in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there is no formal service scheduled at this time. Friends who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Liz Irvine to one of the following. We thank you in advance for remembering her in this way!

Or thru their website at www.pacificwarmuseum.org; designate In Memory of Mrs. Liz Irvine.