Inga Walborg Haugen Sears passed away on April 3. A small memorial service will be held in Long Beach, Calif., in May.
She was born May 3, 1916, to homesteaders Christ and Kjersti Haugen on the windswept plains north of Kremlin, Mont.
She was the eldest of four children, Edwin, Bertha and John who predeceased her. They were all very close. She attended Hingham High School where she excelled in basketball and was a Hi-Line All Star. She said she loved to run and jump on the court and had an aggressive style of play. Her nickname was "Elbows" Inga. Upon graduation she moved to Los Angeles to stay with the Sears family, who moved there from Kremlin in 1929 during the Great Depression.
She worked at Farmers Insurance and even though she had no college education, she was valued enough to help open up a branch office in Portland, Ore., from 1938 to 1941. During World War II, she volunteered at the USO in Hollywood, Calif. Her dance card was always filled with the names of eager servicemen waiting to have a dance with the prettiest girl in Hollywood. Also during the war she married her childhood friend William (Bill) Sears whose family had been homestead neighbors of the Haugens.
Bill and Inga moved to Pacific Palisades, Calif., to raise their two children, Susan (Suzi) and Robert (Bob). Inga was involved with many activities revolving around her children, whether it was Brownie Scouts, Cub Scouts, church or the PTA. She was also involved in many charitable activities with the Santa Monica Optimist Club of which Bill was a dedicated member. They moved to Long Beach, Calif., in 1970 where they both continued to be devoted grandparents to their two grandchildren, Greg and Juli Baldwin. On Bill's passing in 1981, Inga helped to fill her time at the sewing machine. She was a remarkable seamstress and was always in demand.
Inga had an indomitable spirit. Against the ravages of aging, she continued to make the best of her situation and maintained an optimistic outlook as long as she could. We don't think she gave up. She just decided it was time to rejoin her loved ones.
Inga is survived by her two children, Suzi Hoffman (her devoted care-giver) of Long Beach, Calif., and Bob of Edmonds, Wash. ; grandchildren, Greg (and wife Anna) Baldwin of Long Beach, Calif., Juli Baldwin of June Lake, Calif. ; two great-grandchildren, Izabella Rose and Gregory Robert Baldwin of Long Beach, Calif. ; and many nieces and nephews along the Hi-Line and elsewhere.
One of her favorite memories growing up in Montana was riding her horse Queenie while the flax was in bloom on a beautiful spring day. We believe that's what heaven must be like.