Lou Nerren

Lou Nerren

SCARBOROUGH — Staff Sargent Lou Nerren, USMC, passed away Monday, March 5, 2018.

She was born in Ruleville, Miss., in 1923. The fourth of seven children born to Guy and Alma Nerren, Lou was also a twin. Her beloved sister, Sue, lives in Sacramento, Calif. When the unexpected twin girls were born, their parents did not have two names prepared, so the doctor called them Dottie and Dimple. It was not until they needed their birth certificates in high school did they discover that those were their legal names!

Although the entire family worked hard on their cotton farm in Greenville. Miss., they also found time for fun. Three of the girls — Rachel, Sue and Lou — were on the state championship basketball team from Benoit High School. Lou went on to graduate from Penn State and teach physical education and math in Maryland, before joining the Marines in September 1950.

As a woman Marine, Lou was a procurement specialist, using her organizational talents to help supply Marines across the globe. She also played on their travel basketball team (averaging 31 points a game) and even starred in a recruitment movie made by RKO for the Defense Department.

It was at Parris Island, S.C., that Lou met her future husband, Sam Cummings, from Raymond, Maine. Lou left the Marines in 1953, with the rank of staff sergeant. Lou and Sam lived around the world and the United States, finally settling in Raymond when Sam retired. Lou then began a 13-year teaching career in Raymond and Windham, encouraging the love of math and the empowerment of youth. She remembered and stayed connected with many former students even in her last years.

In 1981, Lou and Sam divorced, and she moved back to the South, living in Alabama, with her son Sam, for 18 years. In 1999, they both moved back to Raymond to be with her daughter, Jani Cummings.

Lou had many roles and passions in her very long life, from seamstress, who made costumes and prom dresses for those who needed them; to audio mixer, making countless cassettes for her Laker football star son so he could listen to textbooks as he rode from practice to practice; to Centering prayer practitioner and advocate at Church of the Nativity in Huntsville, Ala.; to store owner, Cottage Industries of Raymond. Although Lou’s last years were marred by the blindness of macular degeneration, she never let that slow her down, changing from reading to listening to books from the magical Maine State Library, and sewing fleece blankets even until the week before she died.

In her last years, Lou was blessed to live at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, where the staff was family and everyone is treated with respect and honor. Besides the blankets she made for her loved ones, fellow residents, and staff at the phenomenal Maine Vets, Lou made over 100 blankets for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and Camp Sunshine in Casco.

Lou loved to play cards, especially bridge, and when it became more and more difficult for her to discriminate between suits, her very special friend, Lisa, created Lou’s Cards (available on Amazon), which have colors that make it easier to tell card from card. At the Maine Veterans Home, Lou learned to play poker and became a bingo champion, collecting her winnings (25 cents a game) to buy more fleece. She loved it when the AMVETS came because they paid $1 a game.

One of Lou’s proudest moments was to cast her ballot in 2016 for two women, Jess Fay for state representative; and Hillary Clinton for president. Jess won. And in comments about national politics lately, Lou had been one to say, “See…?”

Lou was predeceased by her parents, Guy and Alma Nerren; her sisters, Velma McMinn, Rachel Johnston and Martha Van Eaton; her brothers, Milton and Guy; and two nieces and a nephew.

She is survived by her twin sister, Sue Westphal, of Sacramento; her children, Jani and Sam Cummings, of Raymond and Juan Albuja Torres of Ambato, Ecuador; her “adopted” daughters, Lisa Friedlander and E. Lachance; and her treasured and loved 14 nieces and nephews.

Memorial services and burial will be in the spring. To view Lou’s guestbook or leave an online condolence, please visit: www.athtuchins.com

In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the Activities Fund, Maine Veterans Home, 290 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074, or the Democratic candidate of your choice. In lieu of all of those things, keep kindness and joy and hope in your heart, connect to the divine, and you will have honored Lou in the best way possible.

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