Vi (Viola) Rus DeBoer of Churchill, Mont., suffered a series of strokes, died and went to Glory on April 13, 2013, at the age of 93. Vi was born to Peter and Suzie Rus on Oct. 5, 1919 on a small farm south of Corsica, S.D. When Vi was eight years old, her parents adopted her brother, Harlan.
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Vi lived in the country and had to work hard on the farm. She was getting ready to enter high school, but the Dakotas were in a drought in those years and Vi's mom was often ill. Vi was needed on the farm and in the home, thus her parents said she could not go on to high school.
Vi had a cousin, Kenny, who lived in town. Kenny did not want to go to high school and wanted to work on the farm, so the two devised a plan. They convinced their parents that they could switch homes during the school week. This later would prove to be a very important decision in her life.
After graduation, Vi went to a college about 40 miles away in Mitchell. Vi worked for her room and board there with a family whom she loved and stayed very close with for many years. Sam and Vi were high school sweethearts and Sam, who was still in high school another year, could drive to see her each Sunday. Vi returned to Corsica where she taught in the nearest country school until she and Sam married on Dec. 7, 1940 in Corsica and then moved to Michigan. Exactly one year later, Pearl Harbor was bombed and in 1942, Sam received his draft notice. Vi was able to join Sam in Oregon during basic training until he was shipped to Africa and then Italy. Vi moved back to Corsica and lived with Sam's folks where son, Doug, was born in their home. She was a comfort and a joy to his parents during that time. Sam returned from the war in 1945. Sam and Vi lived in Corsica and sons, Victor and David, were born.
Sam moved the family to Bozeman where a fourth son, Sam Jr., was born. Later Sam and Vi moved the family to Manhattan. Vi became a first grade teacher at Manhattan Christian School, a position she held for 30 years. Without question, teaching young students was one of the greatest highlights of her life. Retirement on Churchill afforded her the opportunity to spend quality time with her immediate and extended family. Sam and Vi traveled extensively following Sam's retirement from PV Company. Her most enjoyable trips were to family members, Yellowstone Park, Holland, and the northeast for the fall colors. Following Sam's death in 2009, Vi was able to remain in her home with a part-time care giver, Nancy. She was an avid reader and enjoyed her children, grandchildren, MCS sports, "going to town" and coffee visits with dear friends. She will be dearly missed. Vi was a long standing member at Bethel Christian Reformed Church and proud of her Dutch heritage.
Vi was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Sam; son, Victor; and brother, Harlan. She is lovingly survived by her sons, Douglas of Phoenix, Ariz., Dave (Karen) of Billings/Phoenix; and Sam (Chris) of Bozeman; grandsons, Craig (Taryn) DeBoer of Manhattan; Mark (Shana) DeBoer of Helena; Joshua DeBoer, of Phoenix; and Dusty DeBoer of Cortez, Colo.; step-grandchildren, Chris Bates, Amanda Malley, and Samantha Malley; great-grandchildren, Traig, Cayl, Trac, Tayanna, Kyler, and Kellen; step-great-grandchildren, Keegan and Kellia; and sisters-in-law, Joann DeBoer/DeJong of Grand Rapids, Mich. and Geraldine Rus of Pierre, S.D.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. Interment will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 19 in Churchill Cemetery, followed by a celebration of life at 11 a.m. at Bethel Christian Reformed Church.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 17, 2013