1912 - 2020
Alverda Scriven passed away on November 28, 2020. She was 108 years old. Her life was astonishing.
Alverda Matilda Duclos was born to George and Annie Duclos on Sept. 2, 1912 in the small farming community of Watertown, South Dakota. She was six years old when the Spanish flu pandemic swept through town. Alverda survived after being hospitalized for pneumonia. Tragically, both her parents died from the illness, orphaning Alverda and her two younger siblings. The children were taken in by their grandparents, immigrants Andrew and Christine Nelsen from Denmark, and raised on a farm with their aunts and uncles. They rode in horse-drawn buggies, had gas lighting in their home, and marveled at the first automobiles.
In high school, she met George Scriven, who became the love of her life. After George graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines, they married in a simple ceremony at a minister's house in Sioux Falls, SD, celebrating afterwards with hamburgers and watermelon at a nearby park. The marriage would last sixty-five years. The pair moved across the country for work, living in Washington, Los Angeles and Vallejo before buying a seven-acre plot of land in Napa in 1947, where they built their permanent home.
From there, George worked at the Mare Island Shipyard, helping to design nuclear submarines. Alverda stayed at home and raised a family. She was a devoted wife and wonderful mother to four children. She was a talented homemaker, seamstress, gardener, and active participant in the Napa County 4-H. The family's backyard overflowed with fruit trees, a sprawling vegetable garden, and animals. She loved Napa, and had the honor of attending the Napa County Board of Supervisors' annual Centenarians Celebration eight years in a row.
Genealogy was a special passion. Alverda was the chronicler of the family's ancestry, collecting and keeping written documents of its history. Alverda gathered birth and death records long before the internet made such things simple. She conscientiously corresponded with distant family members, reached out for information from distant archives, and traveled to the genealogy library in Salt Lake City to do her own in-person research.
Alverda's memory was a special source of amazement and pride for family and friends. She remembered everything. She could describe the children and where they sat in her one-room schoolhouse, or her experience in the hospital flu wing searching for her father, or her view from the apartment near Hollywood and Vine in the Golden Age of film, looking down at the streets of Los Angeles alive with energy.
Her life was a record of the 20th century. During the first World War, she helped the women in her town prepare bandages for American soldiers. She witnessed the early carving of Mount Rushmore. In Los Angeles, she enrolled in the first adult education classes offered in the country. She gave birth to her second child in Vallejo during a World War II blackout. Born before women could vote, she lived to help elect the first female Vice President by voting one last time in 2020.
Each year a large group of family and friends gathered for a lively birthday weekend in Gualala, CA to share memories and celebrate Alverda with poems, songs, souvenirs, and gifts. In the final year of her life, while living through a second global pandemic, Alverda participated in twenty-eight recorded Zoom meetings with her family. She was always interested in hearing about everyone's lives, and was proud of her family's togetherness. She was sharp, engaged, and wise until the very end.
Alverda was preceded in death by many loved ones, including her husband George, son Dan, brother-in-law and sister Ray and Marcella Wilaby, brother and sister-in-law Edmund and Caroline Duclos, and son-in-law Bob Teaford. She is survived by children Lynn Davis and her husband Michael, Joyce Scriven, and Marji Teaford; grandchildren Eric and Joe Scriven, Mat and Addie Harrold, Alison St.
Sure, Leslie Miller, and Lucien Teaford; ten great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members, and friends. She was loved and cherished by all generations. The family is lessened by her passing, but richer for her life. Private services with family were held.