ODESSA It was January 19, 1916 that a tiny baby was born to Charles Fredrick Voight, an immigrant from Germany, and his wife, Anna Clara Thiel Voight. |
Vada Mae was the last of ten children. She must have been a "preemie" (although that word was not in existence until she was in her forties) as her first cradle was a shoebox, and she was nicknamed "Bitty" because of her small size. It was the days of horse and buggy, Coleman lanterns, outhouses, cisterns. Woodrow Wilson was president and as Vada grew, her life encompassed the Great Depression, WWI and WWII. She had no idea as she gathered wood for the cook-stove that one day she would press a button and have microwaved food. She never thought about traveling to the moon as she plodded in the horse and buggy to her destination. She attended a one room school house through the 7th grade never realizing her grandson would be attending Texas A&M, largest university in Texas. Her life, which began in Floresville, Texas, was a contrast of history and technology. This 98 year old lady has seen a lot. She adapted well as life unfolded and technology encompassed the "old ways." It's hard to imagine adjusting to electricity, an indoor bathroom, and running water that produced hot and cold but, it was a process.
She married Woodson Morris James, June 5, 1946 and had two daughters, Robin Renea and Brenda Gay. Vada and Woody were an older couple when their girls came along, but they knew how to have fun. They would go to the lake every summer in their camper pulled by the old green pickup with the shell on the back where Robin, Gay and their friends rode. Woody built a canoe for the two sisters and did they have fun with that at the lake. As the girls got older, Vada took a job with the school system. Then life changed. Woody suffered a fatal heart attack Gay's senior year. The next 10 years saw Robin marry Donald Ruppanner and Gay marry Alton Rae. Vada retired from the school cafeteria and kept the girls supplied in clothes from her sewing machine, plenty of home cooked meals, and her cookie jar stocked with snickerdoodles.
Vada became "Oma" when Robin and Donald had two sons, James Stuart and Austin. James Stuart lived nine months before he became a little angel in heaven's realm watching over their lives from above. Gay and Alton had Elliot fulfilling Oma's desire for grandsons. But again, life was less than ideal. In September, 1996, Gay and Elliot were killed in an automobile accident. As the years passed, Vada's friends left, one by one, to live in another world leaving her lonely and alone. She lived by herself until last year when her body said, "hey, I'm 97 and although I think I'm young, I just can't keep up," so she moved in, kicking and screaming, with Robin and Donald. There, she celebrated her 98 birthday with acquaintances and family in front of 98 cupcakes with candles which took all of the guests to extinguish.
Her life, filled with triumph and tragedy, has come to an end. The eyes that have watched an ever evolving world are now filled with new wonders for her to behold and a joyous, new place to discover. Her last days were carefully and lovingly watched over by Joan Hunt, Adrienne McGehee, and Melissa with Midland Home Hospice.
Robin and Donald Ruppanner along with Austin and his fiancee, Emily Huffhines, Vernon Richards, Bethany Joy Sirmon, and her cousins and friends are waving goodbye from this shore.
Her celebration service will be Saturday, April, 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM at First United Pentecostal Church.
Interment is Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Those who have gone before-her friends, her siblings, her husband, her daughter, her grandsons-are waving to her from the other shore. Welcome home, Vada. Tell everyone hello.
Services are entrusted to Hubbard-Kelly Funeral Home.
Published in Odessa American on Apr. 12, 2014