Laura “Viola” (Winslow) VanBebber, 96, died peacefully on Sunday, January 1, 2017, at the Nell J. Redfield Nursing Home.
Vi was born on April 4, 1920, in Milford, Iowa to Chester “Ross” and Elsie Edith (Dodge) Winslow. She was the second of six children and spent her childhood growing up on the family homestead in Milford.
She was married to Henry “Hank” Richard VanBebber on February 16, 1938, at her family home. They lived much of their life in the Terril, Iowa area. Later in their life, they moved to California. Together they operated several foster homes where they helped raise many boys who had nowhere to go or no one who would take the time to love them. She and Hank spent most of their lives caring for others. In 1995 they moved to Malad City, Idaho to be near family as Hank had failing health. He passed away on October 12, 1995. After that time, Mother went to work caring for “her” little older lady friends who needed her care as much as she needed to have someone to care for.
During Mother’s lifetime she made hundreds of quilts, never wasting the tiniest piece of material. All of those quilts were given away to family, friends, foster sons, and especially those in need. Her giving hands were never idle as her life’s work was given in the service of others which exemplifies her love of her Savior. She had such a wonderful outlook and determination to live life to the fullest and was truly an inspiration. Her outstretched hands never met a stranger and she always welcomed those she didn’t know as new friends.
Granny Van was famous around her grandchildren for being the best cook in the whole world. A Granny who always wore an apron, had a twinkle in her eyes, and made the best chocolate drop cookies and fudge. A Granny who always had a big hug and generous heart. She would tell stories about growing up and had a contagious laugh that would always bring a smile to those around her. If she could speak to us today, she would surely encourage us not only to ‘stop and smell the roses’, but to stop and hug someone.
Throughout her long life, she remained vibrant with consistent high spirits and optimism. She remained a bright ray of sunshine to all who knew and loved her. She was immensely comforted by the unwavering assurance that God was ultimately in control of everything and that He would hold her hand as she journeyed back to the arms of those who were awaiting her return to heaven.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her infant daughter, Marva Hazel, her sister, Eva Mae Winslow, and a great-grandson, Evan Robb.
She is survived by two children: Janet (Earl) Robb of Blanchard, Idaho and Richard (Deb) of Malad City, Idaho. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, one on the way, and 4 great-great-grandchildren. She has two brothers and two sisters still living: Chester (Leona) Winslow, Waneta (Delbert-deceased) Clague, both of Milford, Iowa, Jane (Cecil-deceased) Brayfield of Joplin, Missouri, and Ernest (Lou) Winslow of Lamar, Missouri. Others include seventeen nieces and nephews (one deceased-Kenneth Winslow), and two foster sons, Adrian (Joan) Arnold of Ogden, Utah, and John (Kathy-deceased) Alexander of Blanchard, Idaho.
Graveside services will be held on Friday, January 6 at 12 noon in the Malad City Cemetery.