Friday, May 09, 2008

Tribute to Mom

Viola May Kloepfer

She was a beautiful baby, the only girl in a family with five brothers. She was her father's princess, his pride and joy. Born July 6, 1911 in Logan, Utah to Frank P. Kloepfer and Rebecca Partington, Vi was a firecracker from birth to death.

She was a true American, a Heinz 57 variety, with a great assortment of herbs and spices from her ancestors. Her paternal grandfather came to the U.S. as a young stone mason from tiny Altleiningen, Germany. He married a sophisticated young lady from Upnor, Kent, England. Vi's maternal grandfather came to America with his family as a child from Preston, Lancashire, England. He later married a young woman from Ostra Odarslov, Malmohus, Sweden. All in all, it was a wonderful mix of nationalities, personalities and traditions.

Front right corner - Frank and Rebecca Kloepfer with Vi on lap
Streetcar circa 1913

Viola grew up in Boise, Idaho and graduated from Boise High School in 1929, where her emphasis was in business courses. Her father and brothers were sportsmen: hunters, fisherman, athletes. Her mother was a homemaker who sewed, cooked and canned fruits and vegetables for the winter.

Senior Class Boise High School

After high school, Vi worked as a secretary for two years before moving to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah and to find an LDS husband. (Her father was a Bishop in Boise at the time.) While at the U., Vi lived near campus with the Frank Eardley family. She was introduced to my father by his uncle Frank.

Elva Eardley and Vi Kloepfer

Vi - U. of U. Coed 1932

Kenneth Eardley had just returned from an LDS Mexican Mission and was a student in engineering at the University, a member of Pi Kappa Phi faternity. Vi and Ken fell in love and were married June 12, 1933 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Ken Eardley

Since Vi and Ken married during the Depression, it was necessary for Vi to work several years before starting her family. She was a secretary for the Dean of Students at the U. and then worked as a secretary at South East Furniture in Sugarhouse.

Vi with Steve and Gail - The War Years

As a mother, Viola was devoted to homemaking, teaching her children and helping her husband build his business, which she did with love and confidence. She always kept a "neat as a pin" household, her children were always clean, well-dressed and for the most part good mannered.

Vi, JoAnn, Steve and Gail
New Home in Holladay

When Ken and Vi bought a new home in Holladay in 1949, it was on a half acre lot. Vi literally "dug in" and became a master gardener. In the early years, she had 12 fruit trees and raspberry bushes which kept her busy with canning just like her mother. Later, she had about fifty rose bushes, hundreds of iris and daisies which she enjoyed arranging in colorful boutiques.

I was Vi's youngest and when I started Junior High School, mom went back to work as the Personnel Manager at the ZCMI in the new Cottonwood Mall. She did the hiring, training and firing for about nine years. Always sociable, Vi was happy to be back in public service and in the public lime-light. She planned and decorated for most of the ZCMI company parties and dinners.

In later years, mom spent time babysitting grandkids, golfing, bowling and gardening. She loved getting the family together on holidays and birthdays, especially when cake and ice cream, presents, and fire works were involved!

Mom loved traveling--going to Ireland, England, Scotland and Paris with her daughter-in-law Sheryl, to the Bahamas with Ken, Steve and Sheryl, and Hawaii with just Ken. Trips to Lake Powell on the house boat with kids and grandkids were big hits with her.

Although she experienced many health problems in her latter years, mom remained young at heart. (While living in an assisted-living center after a stroke at 80, she was famous for saying she didn't belong there with all those old people!) After suffering from a heart-attack and then breaking her hip, Bill and I bought a condominium in Holladay where she could move in with us. She passes away a year later in 1998 at the age of 86, after a long life of service and love.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

We love you.


PI said...

Wonderful photos of a wonderful lady. How great that you spent the last year together.
PS I was born and bred in Lancashire and we always travelled through Preston en route to our seaside hols in Blackpool.

TravelinOma said...

The photos are awesome. I particularly like the one on the street car. The picture of her in high school looks just like you in high school! This is a lovely tribute.

MissKris said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother! And the addition of all the photos really helped tell her story and bring her alive to us out here in the blogosphere! And what a surprise to come here and find a link to my blog! I saw on my "Feedjit" that someone had come via your blog so I came to investigate. So glad I did!