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1925 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
MALTA – Vivian Nelson, 88, of Malta, Illinois, died Monday, July 14, 2014, at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb.
Born Aug. 21, 1925, in Rochelle, Illinois, the daughter of Charles D. and Dorothy (Trow) Willrett, Vivian graduated from Malta High School as part of a class of eight girls. After high school, she worked at a bakery and at Wurlitzer Corporation, where she was responsible for a highly confidential war-effort project.
She married Leonard Nelson on Feb. 14, 1947, at DeKalb First Methodist Church. They farmed together southwest of Malta all of their married life.
She made hand-woven rugs for many community churches, individuals and organizations for more than 60 years and became known to many as "The Rag Rug Lady." Her woven articles can literally be found around the world. Her hands also were busy with gardening, baking, caning chairs, crocheting, knitting and other handcrafts, many of which she taught herself to do. She was always knitting sweaters and other articles for all the family, and it was a highlight of the Christmas Day celebration for her to present one by one what she had created for each family member.
She loved to be outdoors enjoying nature, whether it involved farming, gardening, rock collecting, bird watching or traveling. Although working outside with Leonard was something she enjoyed in all seasons, she particularly loved bringing in the harvest as she drove the combine each fall.
She spent many hours in the kitchen lovingly preparing meals and baked treats for her family and guests. In her later years, she loved to collect and browse through cookbooks; she had hundreds of them. Attending auctions was a favorite hobby, and she acquired a vast knowledge of antiques as she and Leonard spent time at auctions together.
Vivian enjoyed houseplants and at one time had more than 800 African violets, which she raised from cuttings. Even in her last days, she could be found tending her ferns, violets, cacti and many other houseplants.
Throughout her life, Vivian overcame several health challenges. She was an example to others of determination and perseverance, and through these qualities, along with the many skills and talents she developed during her lifetime, she was an inspiration to all who knew her.
She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Leonard; daughters, Sheilah (Paul) Kyburz of Bloomington, Minnesota, and Juanita (Lance) Milton of Lindenwood; grandchildren, Shondra (Mike) Ruff of Taylor Ridge, Kara (Jacob) Bancks of Moline and Alicia and Conrad Milton of Lindenwood; and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Marlene (John) Fariss.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 19, at Malta United Methodist Church, South Third and Sprague streets, Malta, with the Rev. Dr. Noah R. Panlilio officiating. The visitation will precede the service from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Vivian Nelson Memorial Fund, sent in care of Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115.
For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call 815-756-1022.
Published in Daily Chronicle on July 17, 2014
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