Charlene Ellen Rapacz Davenport was born at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, OR, on June 16, 1938 to the parents of Annette (Moe) and Charles Rapacz. Prior to her departure on December 12, 2019, she assured her family and friends that she had lived “a good and full life and enjoyed a very rewarding nursing career in Surgical Oncology.” In 1945 Annette and family (older brother Bruce and younger sister Sally) moved to the Oregon Coast. Following Annette’s death in 1951, her children lived with maternal grandparents, Pauline and Elling Moe, in Oceanlake, OR, and were supported and loved by many aunts and uncles.
Charlene graduated from Taft High School in 1956 and subsequently married Wayne Davenport who was in the Marine Corps. They had three children: Jean Ellen, John Wayne, and Dan Nicholas. When that marriage ended, Charlene attended University of Oregon in Eugene starting 1962, and was accepted into the School of Nursing in Portland, OR. In 1966, after 3 years on campus, Charlene received a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and became a registered nurse. Initially she worked at Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, then in 1966 was hired at Oregon Health Sciences University. It was there she met her soulmate, Dr. William Fletcher. While leading busy lives doing cancer research and caring for many patients, they traveled extensively around the world and when home they spent almost every weekend at “The Sandcastle” in Tierra del Mar on the central Oregon Coast. Having a large dining room table at every house they shared was important to Bill and Charlene because it became the gathering place for three generations of a blended family where they enjoyed chicken and “lumps”, root beer floats, and solved many of the world’s problems. The youngest generation considered themselves all cousins.
Charlene was a charter member of the Oncology Nursing Society which was started by a group of clinical trial nurses doing cancer research with cancer cooperative groups around the nation. She found her job very interesting because there was so much to learn and also because there was always something new on the horizon for cancer treatment options. She would tell you that she learned the most from the patients who were so strong, resilient, and appreciative. She is most proud of encouraging her niece and two granddaughters to pursue careers in the nursing profession. She retired in 1996 after a rewarding 30 years in nursing.
Charlene adored her sister/best friend Sally Hansen, and her brother, Bruce. The three often remarked how fortunate they were to have been influenced by Grandma and Grandpa Moe who left indelible Norwegian “marks” on all of them. Charlene was predeceased by her brother Bruce Rapacz, and her best friend Bill Fletcher. She is survived by daughter Jeanie, of Portland; son John (Maila) of Portland; and son Dan, of San Diego. She leaves grandsons Jake, Wyatt, and Cole; granddaughters katy and Lillia; and great grandchildren Madeline, Marshall, and Aurora. She will be missed by her extended family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home 5625 NE Fremont St. Portland, OR 97213 followed by private burial on December 19, 2019 at 11am.
To send flowers to Charlene's family, please visit our floral section.