Neva was born on July 13, 1926 to Hazel and William Ernest Back in Flagler. She departed this life on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at the age of 86 years old.|
Neva was a twin, her twin sister passed away three days after the girls' birth. Neva was the smallest of the twins, but showed will and determination to survive during perilous times. Her strength of will helped her to deal with her parents' divorce at the age of 3, when she was primarily taken care of by her grandparents Lavinia (Todd) Wilson and Mason Wilson. Her mother Hazel worked for other people as a housekeeper to help support her daughter.
She attended grade school at North Flat located 2 miles north of where she would end up raising her family. She was baptized at the age of 8 years old in the Shiloh Baptist Church north of Flagler.
Her mother met a farmer, Francis W. McCaffrey Sr., who had five young boys to raise after their mother Alberta (Preyer) McCaffrey had died. She was a freshman in high school at that time. The oldest of the boys was Francis LeRoy Jr., and by the time they were seniors in high school, they had become sweethearts, and remained so for over 65 years.
June 1, 1946 Francis LeRoy and Neva Rose were married in St. Francis, Kan. She was proud of the fact that she became a teacher and taught school at North Flat, where she had attended grade school.
To this union they were blessed with a son Roger Lynn in 1952 and Vicky Jill in 1958.
She always enjoyed being a wheat farmer, and helping Jr., on the farm. The two of them were rarely apart.
She was a tremendous cook, and anyone who sat at her table never left hungry. She made the best homemade bread and pies in the world. Often rising at dawn to begin washing and ironing clothes for farmhands, she would have at least 2 batches of dough rising before sun up. Nels Thorson, Orlie Crist, Doyle Kier and others can attest to Neva's cooking skills.
One of the greatest roles that Neva undertook was as grandma and eventually great-grandma. Her firstborn grandson, Cory McCaffrey, gave her so much pride and joy, as he undertook the role of carrying on the McCaffrey wheat farm legacy.
Cory, along with his brother Tyler McCaffrey, made her happy by carrying on the family tradition of hard work ethics and unity of family. She had a special love for Ryan Pickard, Vicky's son that endured her entire life – Ryan had a gentle way of "sweet-talking" grandma into anything.
Her granddaughters, Sara McCaffrey and Erin Pickard, were the "roses" in her life. She delighted in buying them the laciest dresses that she could find, and the pinkest.
Neva was devastated by the loss of her only son in 1999. Again, her strong will and capacity for endurance prevailed as she coped with her loss with dignity and grace. She would again be called upon to test this strong will when she developed Alzheimer's. She was the first person to laugh at herself for the inability to remember someone's name and say, "Well, what do you expect? I am almost 80!"
Neva leaves to celebrate her life, her partner and loving husband Jr., her daughter Vicky (Tony) Kosch, grandchildren Cory (Jeannelle), Sara, Tyler (Lauren), Ryan Pickard (Jacinda) and Erin Pickard (Matt). Blessed with great-grandchildren: Samantha, Rachel, Jaxsen, Jacob, Damon, Dylon, Dalilah, Daydon McCaffrey; Beau and Colin Pickard. Also several nieces and nephews along with their families.
Neva was predeceased by her mother Hazel Tubbs, father-in-law Francis McCaffrey, son Roger McCaffrey, brothers-in-law Kenneth McCaffrey, Darrell McCaffrey, Robert McCaffrey, nephews Charles McCaffrey, Larry Schutte.
Friends and family gathered at the Brown and Latimer Funeral Home Thursday, March 28, 2013 to pay their respects.
The family was overwhelmed by the number of friends who attended, to show their love and support for them. The Rev. Ronald Lee offered a prayer of hope and peace.
Friday March 29, 2013 the family and many friends held a committal service at the Flagler Cemetery where the Rev. Robert Strauch, a longtime family friend, officiated.
Some of Neva's dear friends were pallbearers – Kelly Burr, Mike Santala, LeRoy Loutzenhiser, and Orlie Crist.
Honorary pallbearers include all of Jr and Neva's "North Country" farm friends and families, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jr. asked the Brown and Latimer Funeral Home, Burlington to help with these funeral arrangements for his beloved Neva.
You may go to the Brownfuneraldirectors.com to leave a condolence for the family.
Published in The Burlington Record on Apr. 4, 2013