Funeral services for Lora LaVerne (Harriman) Chandler, 72 of Portales will be held at 10:00 AM, Wed., April 26, 2023 at the Third and Kilgore Church of Christ with David Heflin officiating. Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery with Evan Chandler, Case Chandler, Braden Chandler, Carlos Saenz, Jake Chandler and Nash Chandler serving as pallbearers. The Elders and Deacons of the Third and Kilgore Church of Christ will be honorary pallbearers.
Lora LaVerne Harriman was born on October 12, 1950, to the home of William Carl and Lola Mae Pelfrey Harriman and she ascended to be with Christ on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at the age of 72. Lora was literally born at home in Texico, New Mexico, not in a hospital. When she was four, her family moved to a farm east of Portales where she lived until she was 16 years old. Her father sold the farm and moved them into Portales.
She graduated from Portales High School in 1968, with two academic scholarships to attend Eastern New Mexico University. Lora earned an Associate of Science degree in Secretarial Administration and accepted a secretarial position with Shell Oil Company in Midland, Texas. She eventually returned to Portales where she worked as a department secretary to the Dean of Women at ENMU.
When she was 22-years old, she moved out of her parents’ home into a small apartment of her own. This was a big deal for her and caused an uproar in the family. “Good” girls were supposed to live under their father’s authority until they transferred that subjection to a husband. But, it was the ‘70s and Lora wanted to be free to make her own choices!
One of those choices was to change the place she attended worship services. In April 1973, Lora and her little sister, Geri, visited the Second Street Church of Christ, and it was there that she met Joe Chandler. They began dating (if you can call checking irrigation pumps or rabbit hunting dating!) and were married on December 14, 1973 in the Second Street church building. They began their life together on the Chandler farm near Floyd, NM. A few months later, they moved into Portales where Lora returned to work as a secretary at the university. She gave birth to their first daughter, Anna Marie, on December 27, 1974. Two months later, February 23, Anna died as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Lora continued working at the university and vowed she would stop working and be a stay-at-home mom if only God would bless them with another child. Chad Fletcher was born on June 19, 1976. Lora quit her job the day he was born and embraced her calling to motherhood. Two more children blessed this union – Matthew Ryan and Alisa Joy. Lora supported her husband’s life work of building furniture and was involved in the family business. For twelve years, she kept her vow as a homemaker; but the business began to decline and the day came when Joe asked her to return to work.
She began in small but difficult ways. Every day, she got up at 5:00 AM to work two hours for Dr. Charles Lehman, a family practitioner, transcribing his patients’ medical records. At 7:00 AM, she went back home to make breakfast for her family and get the children off to school. Then, at 8:30, she went to her second job at Butterfly Floral where she took care of bookkeeping and billing. She enjoyed the flower shop and the women she worked with.
When she heard about an opening at ENMU in her former department, she applied and was hired as a department secretary. Two years later, she applied for a senior secretarial position and was hired in the university President’s office. She worked closely with President Everett Frost, the Board of Regents, and the President’s Senior Staff for nine years before quitting her job and taking a break from working outside her home. Two more years passed and she again returned to ENMU to work part time in the BSN program for a few years.
Her most enjoyable and devoted work came when she was hired as the bookkeeper for Third and Kilgore Church of Christ where she has been a member most of her life. During the years she worked for the church, she was privileged to teach the Ladies’ Bible class every Tuesday morning for six years. Lora designed the mobile-ready website for the church and had responsibility for much of the features on the church mobile app.
Lora loved all types of music and often sent links to her children of songs she wanted them to listen to and love as much as she did. Music is the thread of love that knits us all together. She was named mother of the Year in 1992 as a result of an essay her daughter, Alisa, wrote about her. She enjoyed creative writing and had several articles published in online and printed magazines. She wrote a column for Hopekeeper’s Magazine (a publication for people suffering with chronic pain or illness) entitled “Strength in the Shadows.” A few of her stories were printed in the Portales News Tribune. For several years, she wrote articles for the church bulletin once a month.
Lora loved Christ and her daily prayer was that she be blessed to speak the name of Jesus to someone who needed to know Him. She preferred to be in the background, living a life of service to others. Her favorite Bible verse was 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.” She especially liked the mind-your-own-business part!
Lora was preceded in death by two sisters, Vera Lee Harriman and Wanda June Harriman; her parents, William Carl and Lola Harriman; and, her firstborn daughter, Anna Marie Chandler. She is survived by her husband, Joe, of the home, her two sons and daughters-in-law – Chad and Shannon Chandler of Slaton, TX and Matthew and Catherine Chandler of Weatherford, TX; her daughter and son-in-law – Alisa and Matt Palmer of Lubbock, TX; and nine grandchildren, Kari, Evan, Braden, Case, Jake and Nash Chandler, and Olive, Eleanor and June Palmer. She is also survived by five sisters Mary Wagner of Portales, Geneva Cormier of Clovis, Frances Schwartz of Clovis, Carlene Mahan of Gainesville, MO and Geraldine Schumpert of Clovis and their families. She and Joe also have an unofficially “adopted” son, Carlos Saenz of Dallas, TX.
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