Luanna (Lu) Cook Iverson, 94, passed away peacefully October 15, 2019 at Covenant Shores on Mercer Island. Her family was close by, spending time with her.
She was mom, grandmother, aunt, friend, sister, cousin and neighbor to many. It didn’t matter if you were related, as her heart took everyone in. Meeting Lu was a charming experience. Her radiant smile pulled everyone close and her offer to stay for a meal made all who encountered her struggle to leave her side. For her 90th birthday her family gave her a party. Many travelled to attend and bask in the love magnet that was Lu Iverson. Over the years, she kept her home in case anyone needed a place to stay, and many did. If you were fortunate enough to be on her mailing list, she was a loyal writer of newsy notes and cards celebrating milestones in your life.
Thru her life, Lu lost two husbands and a son and remained present and full of love for all those around her.
Lu loved cooking, music, nature, reading and civic engagement. She was an active member of the Seattle Arboretum, Audubon, League of Women Voters and the Sierra Club. As an avid gardener and plant lover, she had her own back yard, on Mercer Island, designated a wildlife sanctuary. She belonged to two book clubs and held season tickets to the Seattle Symphony.
Born August 8, 1925 in Los Angeles, CA to Dr. William Paul & Mary Cook. Her parents managed her closely in her studies and in the pursuit of music. She learned to play the piano at an early age, with many hours spent practicing. During her Marlborough High School recital, she played Rhapsody in Blue with no sheet music. Her love of the outdoors developed early with family vacations to national parks and weekends at her grandfather’s ranch in Uplands, CA. She hiked Yosemite’s Half Dome, with her dad, at age 13. The family attended Wilshire Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA.
She started college at Stanford, in Palo Alto, CA and her parents later transferred her to Iowa State, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science. She then passed the registered dietician exam. Her father insisted she hold off marriage until she completed her studies.
Her first job was with the University of California San Francisco Hospital as a dietician. There she met Dr. Robert (Bob) Johansen (1924 – 1964). They were married in 1951 and started a family, moving to Santa Clara, CA. Lu taught briefly as a substitute teacher, then excelled at homemaking. Family vacations were spent exploring and camping in Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. Lake Tahoe was a family favorite both in winter and summer. The family attended the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Clara, CA. In 1964, Bob tragically died in a car accident. Lu was left with 3 children ages 6 – 11 and was 6 months pregnant. Lu connected with a prior college sweetheart from Iowa State, Dr. Carrold (Iver) Iverson, (1924 – 1999). In 1965 she re-married, moved to Seattle, then Mercer Island and had twins at age 42. With 6 children in the house, Lu had a lot to keep track of and ran the household. She kept shopping lists, recipe files, child allowance lists, family budgets and always created a nutritious family dinner.
Skiing, fishing, and hiking were the weekend activities of the family. Lu was a good sport, though never really took to skiing as she worried of injuring herself and not being able to take care of her 6 children. On ski trips she would wait in the ski lodge, reading, ready to buy any of her family hot chocolate and lunch. She took her children into nature with walks on local trails, trips to national parks and later in life, joined them on their own family trips.
In 2003, when Lu was 78 years old, her oldest son Wayne Iverson (1953 – 2004) was diagnosed with brain cancer and Lu took him into her home on hospice.
She stayed in her family home until 2013, then moved to Covenant Shores, a retirement community on the waterfront of Mercer Island.
Lu attended Newport Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, WA and the Covenant Church within Covenant Shores.
Lu will be missed by many and her spirit of unconditional love lives in all she touched.
Lu is survived by her brother, Charles Cook, 5 children: Carol Kelly (Bill Dobbins), Bill (Kim) Iverson, Amy (Shawn) Davis, Peter Iverson, Mary Iverson (Shane Bush), grandchildren: Paul (Tamara) Iverson, Laura Iverson (Treu Hahnenberger), Jake Gallaher, Julia McIntyre, Molly Gallaher, Reed (Stephanie) Olsen, Dane Olsen (Jamilah Williams), great-grandchildren: Oliva Olsen, Corvidae Hahnenberger, nieces and nephews: Mark Cook, Kathy Hopkins, Fred Hopkins, Elizabeth Daitch, Mark Hopkins, Anne Iverson, Jim Iverson, Bill Wilson, Mick Wilson, Libby Johns.
Service to celebrate Lu’s life will be held on November 2, 2019 at 2 pm. Newport Presbyterian Church, 4010 120th Avenue SE, Bellevue, WA 98006
Contributions in Lieu of flowers can be made in Lu Iverson’s name to the Washington Park Arboretum https://www.arboretumfoundation.org/support/donate/