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Vikings mourn loss of former queen

POULSBO — Loree Bayne may have been born in Pennsylvania, but she fully embraced the spirit of Little Norway becoming known to all as the Queen Viking of the Sons of Norway.

Bayne, who died July 29, will be remembered during a memorial service at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Sons of Norway lodge in downtown Poulsbo.

One of Bayne’s first acquaintances upon her arrival to the area was Darlene Munroe, who became a lifelong friend.

“We had some good times together and she was just a real swell lady,” Munroe recalled, noting that Bayne and her husband rented their first home from the Munroe family 33 years ago.

Her husband died shortly after their arrival, but Bayne remained in the area after leaving for a couple of years to return to South Carolina, Munroe said.

“I told her her biggest mistake was going back to South Carolina, because she’d end up back here, which she did,” she said, noting that after living in the Northwest, the Southern heat becomes too much for most people.

While Bayne became active in the Sons of Norway and the Eagles, Munroe never could get her to join the Little Norway Grandmothers Club, of which she is the president.

“I tried and tried but I never could get her to join,” she remembered. “Every time I’d invite her to a luncheon she said maybe I will or maybe I’ll be busy.”

Even though Bayne didn’t join the grandmother’s club, she still loved her grandchildren and was very close to them, Munroe said.

“She was a fun gal and was active in everything she did,” she said, explaining that Bayne took it upon herself to buy old furs and fur coats so that the Sons of Norway Vikings would have more authentic outfits.

“Rhea loved being a Viking and she loved going down to the club and meeting with the group of ladies,” recalled friend Marie Pederson.

While Bayne was the Vikings’ Southern belle, her passion for the Vikings and the Sons were well-known, Pederson said.

“She had a great love for being our Mother Viking and Viking Fest was very important to her,” she said, recalling how one year Bayne had a friend reserve her parking space at 5 a.m. during Viking Fest.

The Sons filled her life as she spent countless hours at the lodge helping out, Pederson said.

“She definitely played a role in keeping us together,” Pederson remarked.

Sons of Norway Administrator Mariann Samuelsen said she will remember Bayne as a full-spirited, beautiful lady.

“She played a very big role in the Vikings and was always very helpful during banquets and weddings,” Samuelsen recalled.

Bayne will be remembered for her character and outspokenness at the Sons, she said.

“She very much embodied the spirit of the Vikings and the entire Sons of Norway,” she added.

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