Lois Margaret Fountain, of Mattapoisett and Wareham, departed this world on August 31, after 86 full and active years with us. Lois was the third of four children born to Reid and Edith Sisson on the family farm in Goodland, MI, on June 13, 1934. Lois was always a woman of her time, herself growing with the changes about our country.
Lois enjoyed horseback riding and piano, starting both at an early age. She studied through 8th grade at the Shepard School, the local one-room school house about a mile from the farm. Thereafter, she graduated from Imlay City High School, having been active in the school band and drama club, and county 4-H events. In her Senior year, she was both Homecoming Queen, and won the Lapeer County (beauty and talent) Queen contest, and then tied at the district level in the Miss Michigan state-wide competition.
After high school, Lois attended Carnegie Institute in Detroit, obtaining a medical laboratory technician certification, and then went to work at what is now part of the Henry Ford Medical Group in Detroit. Shortly afterwards, she met her husband-to-be, Clarence Fountain, enjoyed a short courtship, launched into marriage, and moved to the newly constructed Trenton, MI suburbs to start their family. As her husband’s work brought various relocations, Lois picked up their three children and moved the household, eventually landing in Mattapoisett in 1965.
Once there, Lois promptly became active as a Welcome Wagon representative (all the better to learn about the community), joined the Mattapoisett Women’s Club (becoming President in 1971-72), and continued on her interest in bowling (both 10 pin and duck pin). And gardening, gardening, gardening, Bearded Irises being a specialty. As a homemaker, Lois was “June Cleaver” to the T. Virtually every meal was from scratch, and much of her and her daughter’s clothing was direct from her Singer (and later Bernina) machine, the boys being largely blue-jean attired. Coming to the seacoast from Michigan did require some additional cooking experience, however, and Lois learned to boil the water first before putting a live lobster in the pot.
When an additional hobby was needed, Lois and Clarence started a breeding kennel for AKC Norwegian Elkhounds. In that, Lois was the primary trainer and show handler, taking her favorite puppy up to an AKC National Championship, with CD and CDX ratings, and a Dog World special award.
Eventually, her three children became adults and emptied from the house, so Lois enrolled at the University of Massachusetts (then SMU) in Dartmouth, MA, and obtained her B.A. in Business Administration in 1985. Instead of going immediately into her next career, after graduation Lois joined the Peace Corps, and served two years in the mountain wilds of Equador. The village she was assigned to had just recently been provided with electricity, so Lois was sent to teach them how to use sewing machines for family and commercial production of clothing. In the process, she quickly became bi-lingual.
Returning to the States, Lois started working for Sears, and then Walmart, in marketing of home decor products. She received corporate national awards for her annual successes in that regard, including free vacations. At the same time, Lois continued her passions for world travel and horseback riding (the “Fossils over Fences” club, as we called it), far later into life than even her children expected. Eventually, she did retire from Walmart, and switched over to more “relaxing” sports, sea kayaking and bicycling. She also remained active in community affairs, helping out with the Wareham Bikepath Committee and Wareham public election voting.
All the while, Lois was an avid and skilled gardener, finding the right plants for every type of soil and weather conditions. In the end, cancer brought her down. After a long and tedious battle, she could not weed it out, so she left to place herself in a better garden.
Still here to remember Lois fondly are her children and their spouses, Ryan (and Linda), Gary (and Jenny), and Valri, along with 11 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, and an abundance of nieces and nephews and their families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no formal memorial service for Lois this year. In the meantime, if you are thinking of Lois, rather than send flowers, perhaps give a donation to Wareham Free Library or Wareham Land Trust, or plant some of your favorite flowers.