Loretta Jean Ganter

July 25, 1940 ~ February 3, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Loretta Ganter Obituary

The world lost a beloved mother and grandmother, Loretta Jean Ganter on February 3, 2024

Loretta was born on July 25, 1940, to Thaddeus and Marie Spencer in Tuscaloosa, AL.  She moved with her family to Portland, OR in 1942, where she lived with her parents and 11 siblings. She graduated from Girls Polytechnic High School in 1958. In 1960 she married high school sweetheart Charles Ganter. They were married for 42 years until his passing in 2002. They were blessed with two sons, Mark and Bryan and four grandchildren who brought her so much joy.

 At an early age she was known for helping her mother with her 10 younger siblings, which was the foundation for her future career. Despite being discouraged by her high school guidance counselor and others, because of race, her tenacity and caregiving spirit led to a long satisfying career as a nurse. She worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse for many years before obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Linfield University Nursing program and became a registered nurse in 1977.

She held various nursing positions over the years including operating room scrub and charge nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, Operating Room Nurse Manager at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, and Orthopedic Advice Nurse at Kaiser Medical Center.  She also co-founded the first free standing ambulatory surgery center in the state, Oregon Surgery Center in 1979.  While she officially retired from nursing in 2003, she continued in the nursing realm by her involvement with the Parish Nursing Association. She took pride in working alongside many Parish nurses as well as educating youth in various outreach programs in the Portland area.

Loretta loved spending time with her family. Watching her two sons Mark and Bryan play sports from a young age through college, was a highlight of being a mother. There weren't many events/games she and husband Charles missed. She became a golf enthusiast and loved playing with Charles, Mark and Bryan as well as the many friends she and Charles made while being members at Rock Creek CC, Heron Lakes Women’s Club, and Leisure Hour Golf Club. 

Loretta loved her family deeply and will be fondly remembered for her beautiful smile and caring heart. She was one of a kind and to be loved by her was truly a blessing. Although we will miss her deeply, our hearts are glad that she is reunited with Charles, the love of her life.

She is survived by sons and daughter in laws; Mark and Deborah of Beaverton, OR and Bryan and Lisa Ganter of Scottsdale, AZ. Grandchildren, Ciara of Maui HI, Dylan of Beaverton OR, Sydni and Nolan of Scottsdale AZ. Sisters Gerri Orr and Cynthia Lovell and brothers Kenneth and Kevin Spencer as well as numerous nieces, and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Charles, parents Thaddeus and Marie Spencer. In-laws Julia and Jimmie Ganter, Melvin Spencer, Thaddeus Spencer, Connie Mills, Maudine Smith, Richard Spencer, Kerry Spencer, and Tony Spencer.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests donating to The Alliance of Black Nurses Association of Oregon, or Peace Health Hospice of Vancouver, WA. in Loretta’s memory.

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Funeral Service
February 10, 2024

11:30 AM
Bethesda Baptist Church
4735 N Commercial Avenue
Portland, OR 97217

Video is available for this event

Graveside Service
February 10, 2024

2:00 PM
River View Cemetery
0300 SW Taylors Ferry Rd.
Portland, OR 97219


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