Louella O. Sexsmith

10/29/1929 - 3/25/2024


West Lebanon - Louella O. Sexsmith, passed peacefully at the age of 94 in the Jack Byrne Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire on March 25th, 2024. She was born in Los Angeles, California in 1929, to John and David (nee Robinson) Ormsby. The second of four children, she grew up on the family farm in Tracy, California.

After high school, Lou earned her nursing degree at Santa Rosa Junior College in 1950, and proudly earned her RN license shortly thereafter and moved to San Francisco, California. Her nursing career began as a post-graduate student in the Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital. During the Korean War, she worked in traveling blood banks in places like San Quentin Rehabilitation Center and Fort Mason in Northern California. Later, she worked in the ICU, ER, and OR in hospitals in California, Washington, and New York.

She married Jeremy Sexsmith in 1955 and moved all over the country, living and working on places such as Kodiak, Alaska; Grahamsville, New York; Lone Pine, California; and Port Townsend, Washington while raising their two children, Suzanne and Whitney.

Outside of working and raising a family, Lou learned anything she set her mind to. She was a master leatherworker, knitter, and crocheter - many children of both family and friends benefitted from her beautiful, baby-soft blankets. She was a guitarist who sang many English and American folk songs to her children. She taught herself photography and developed her own film to document the raw beauty in the places she lived. Always devoted to finding adventure, she hiked, explored caves, skied, and kayaked. Her love of genealogy took her all over North America and the United Kingdom to find ancestral graves, original documents, and a few distant cousins.

When she wasn't hiking the wilderness with a pistol strapped to her hip, Lou loved reading classics like Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice was her favorite) but frequently dabbled in the realm of science fiction. When it came to music, she often had Gilbert & Sullivan soundtracks interspersed with the music of Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Lou was also an early adopter of technology, building her own computer and playing first-person-shooter games such as Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein - much to the delight of her grandchildren and young cousins. She loved watching college football, NFL and anything in between.

Upon her retirement and after Jerry's death in 1998, Lou moved to Canaan, New Hampshire where she gardened, concentrated on her genealogy, and helped care for her grandchildren.

She is survived by her children Suzanne Auerbach (David), Whitney Sexsmith, her grandchildren Hannah Auerbach, Benjamin Auerbach, and her sister Jeanne Ormsby. She was preceded in death by her brothers John Ormsby Jr. and Tom Ormsby.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Jack Byrne Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire - where she spent her final days in comfort, surrounded by family, friends and an exceptional care team.

An online guest book is available to leave a message of condolence for Louella's Family by visiting www.rickerfuneralhome.com