Graduation day

Ninety-four-year-old Papermaker finally receives her diploma

On Monday, Jan. 24, Lila Robertson Trammell finally received her high school diploma.

The event had been more than 75 years in the making.

Trammell would have graduated from Camas High School in 1935. However, for reasons she did not want to disclose, Trammell did not attend her high school graduation and never received her diploma.

But three-quarters of a century later, she did just that. At a school board meeting, Trammell, now 94, was bestowed an honorary diploma from Camas High School, given to her by Superintendent Mike Nerland.

Like most graduates, there were a few tears and flowers. Unlike most graduates, the flowers came from the superintendent.

“You mean I lived 94 years and finally got this?” she joked. “Is it worth it?”

While attending Camas High in the early 1930s, Trammell was known as an outstanding student and received many awards, the most distinguished of these being the Citation for Meritorious Service. It was signed by Nora Self, who served as principal of CHS before her retirement.

After high school, Trammell married Truman E. Sanders and they had five children. While raising her family, she lived in Idaho and Oregon; always finding work in the schools and volunteering for local non-profits such as the YWCA. She 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,” she said. “And she didn’t take any guff from the men on the council.”

Today, Trammell is still an active Camas senior. She has also been a dedicated volunteer at the Vancouver Veterans’ Hospital Barns Medical Center for many years. Eleven times each year, Lila brings hand-made crafts and other gifts as a way to honor veterans.

“She is famous at the center,” Jones said. “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. 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 with Trammell regarding city improvements taking place around her home. “Lila was an incredible advocate for her neighborhood,” he said. “She was a clear thinker and very focused on her community. She left a mark that impressed me.”

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