A very long, rewarding and incredible life came to an end on Jan. 5, 2018 with the passing of Louise DeZan Mantoth, 95, of Tehachapi after a very short illness. Lou was a well-known businesswoman and civic leader who was for many years the proprietor of Yeager's Department Store in Downtown Tehachapi.
Lou was the matriarch of her large family, and she spent her life loving and helping her siblings, four children, nine grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and assorted nieces, nephews and huge circle of friends.
Known to her family and many of her friends as "LuLu," she was a human dynamo of energy and productivity, and she put so much into her life and she got so much back in return. Traveling was one of her favorite activities, and she journeyed extensively in Mexico, Central and South America and Europe. She was a lifelong learner and attended many Elderhostel sessions, learning new things and expanding her life experiences.
She enjoyed gardening and woodworking, as well as hunting and fishing. Having been raised as the daughter of a miner, she also enjoyed prospecting and she maintained the family mining claims for many years.
One of her special interests was wildflowers, from the stunning little Desert Mariposas of her childhood in Atolia to the ornate Purple Columbines of her married life at a lumber camp near Durango, Colo. LuLu paid attention to when different species bloomed, and as a vigorous walker and hiker, she would roam far and wide to admire and enjoy wildflowers.
LuLu was an abiding source of inspiration to her younger family members, whom she always encouraged and championed. Her courage and her refusal to be intimidated by challenges were qualities she wanted to pass along. "Grandma taught all of us that we could do anything we wanted to do," said one of her grandchildren. "She was fearless."
There is a Henry Ford quote that her daughter Nancy Yeager Rice feels exemplifies her mother's outlook: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."
LuLu helped all of her family members in ways large and small, and she remained close to all of her siblings. She was the last surviving sibling, and she spent many years caring for her sister Alba. In turn, LuLu was looked after by her own children, including Nancy, Bart and Jack, who lived right across the street and always kept an eye on their mother. She was also assisted in recent years by Brittany Cesario and Julia Moessner.
A private celebration of her life was held by family members.
Lou is survived her daughter Nancy and son-in-law LeRoy Rice of Tehachapi; Bart of Kern Valley and Jack of Tehachapi. Also grandchildren Heidi of Durango; Jennifer of Eureka; Ryder and his wife Julianna of Tehachapi; Melinda of Fairbanks, Alaska; Bart and his sister Heather and her husband Steven Perkins, all of Weiser, Idaho; Robert "John" and his wife Deborah of North Pole, Alaska; Bryan and his wife Debbie of Montrose, Colorado; and Mindy her husband Lance of Norcatur, Kan. Also great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her first husband, Robert Yeager; her second husband, William Mantoth; her son, Robert "John" Yeager; and her daughter-in-law Kathy Yeager.