1928 - 2016 Verda Fay Slater Ponder, age 87, passed away, Monday, February 8, 2016 in Woodville, Texas. She was born in 1928 in San Antonio, Texas, to James Arthur Slater and Alma Gertrude Key. After finishing high school she entered the Cadet Nurse Corps, a nurses' training program established by Congress and signed into law by FDR to fill the need for more nurses during World War II. She received her training in Fort Worth at City County Hospital, now John Peter Smith Hospital. She was in the last class to enter training when the war ended. She met her husband, Bill Mayfield Ponder, in Grand Prairie, Texas, where they married in 1949. They were married for 67 years. Verda had a varied and rewarding nursing career. From 1964 to 1969 she served as Director of Nurses at Planned Parenthood in Houston, where she was recognized for her activities in community outreach programs. She lectured to high school and college students, as well as church groups and other organizations. In 1970, she and her husband moved to Town Bluff between Woodville and Jasper, Texas, where they have lived for over 45 years. From 1970 until 1992 she served as the director and full time instructor of an accredited LVN training program in Jasper. About half of her students went on to obtain higher degrees, becoming RN's and administrators. She often stated that teaching these young nurses was one of her proudest accomplishments. She touched many lives and she will be greatly missed. Verda retired from nursing in 1992 and joined her husband in traveling the United States by RV. They particularly loved the western states with their deserts and mountains. The highlight was yearly trips to Missoula, Montana to visit one of their two sons and his family living near the Bitterroot. Verda is preceded in death by her parents, James & Alma Slater; sisters Margaret Helen Campbell and Mildred Eloise Harman, and brother Arthur Ray Slater. She is survived by her husband, Bill Ponder of Woodville; and two sons; John Ponder and his wife, Linda, of Colleyville, Texas; Glenn Ponder and his wife, Chris, of Darby, Montana; grandchildren Mason Ponder, Adrienne Ponder, William Will Ponder and Mylea Ponder; nephew Bob Campbell; numerous friends, including many former nursing students and their families. At her request, no funeral or memorial service is planned. Donations in her honor can be made to The Tyler County Hospital Foundation (for the School of Vocational Nursing), 1100 W. Bluff, Woodville, Texas. 75979.
Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Feb. 10, 2016