Tuesday, January 25, 2011

94-Year-Old Papermaker Receives Honorary Diploma

Lila Robertson would have graduated from Camas High in the 1930’s; however, for reasons left unsaid, she did not attend her high school graduation and never received her diploma. Nearly three quarters of a century later, she did just that. At a school board meeting last night, Lila Robertson Trammell, now 94, was bestowed an honorary diploma from Camas High School.

In 1928, Lila’s father obtained a job at the Crown Zellerbach Mill in Camas and moved Lila, her mother, and four siblings from Lewiston, Idaho, in an open car with all their possessions.

Lila was known as an outstanding student having earned a Citation for Meritorious Service in 1934 from Camas High, which incidentally, was signed by Educator of the Century Nora Self.

After high school, Lila married Truman E. Sanders and they had five children. While raising her family she lived and worked in Idaho and Oregon; always finding work in the schools and volunteering for local non-profits such as the YWCA. Lila returned to Camas after marrying Don Trammell in 1969. When Don retired from the Paper Mill in the late 1980s, they spent nine years as Park Hosts in Washington and Oregon State Parks.

Lila served as a Camas City Councilwoman from 1971-1979. Her niece, Roxanne Jones, remembers that Lila was known for her extensive knowledge of city ordinances, building codes, and financial accountability. “She was hard-headed, honest, and respected. And she didn’t take any guff from the men on the council,” Jones noted.

Today, Lila is still an active senior here in Camas. Additionally, she has been a dedicated volunteer at the Vancouver Veterans’ Hospital Barns Medical Center for many years. Eleven times each year, Lila brings hand-made crafts, or favors, on holidays as a way to honor our veterans. “She is famous at the Center. When the staff and veterans see her walk in the door, they exclaim, ‘Here comes the Queen!’ The little favors she gives the vets really brighten their day and her visits are something the men really look forward to,” commented Jones. “In fact, over the years, she has had four marriage proposals!”

While working for the city of Camas, School Board member Doug Quinn remembers meeting Lila regarding City improvements taking place around her home. “Lila was an incredible advocate for her neighborhood. She was a clear thinker and very focused on her community,” Quinn commented. “She left a mark that impressed me.”

At the board meeting, Superintendent Mike Nerland showed the audience the citation from 1934 plus another plaque Lila received from Camas High School. School Board President Connie Hennessey and Nerland bestowed the honorary diploma to Lila surrounded by friends and family as well as her pastor, Ken Campbell. Lila thanked the board for the honor and she joked to Nerland that someone had “stolen” her plaques from her home and that she’d now like them returned to her.