Verda Fern Rawlins - Our Auntie Fern

Tribute given by J. Bradley Halgren -- Nov. 8, 1975

In giving this tribute, I am speaking for many of you here and for many more who could not be here, but who are thinking and feeling just what I will be saying.

From the time I was a little boy I never knew anyone who had an "Auntie." All the kids had "Aunts" -- I did, too. But I was the only one who had an "Auntie."

I wasn't quite a year old when Auntie Fern became a very important part of my life. She came and took care of John and me for a time when my Mom was teaching school and my Dad was going to Medical School. She loved me and spoiled me and she made my life happy. Auntie Fern has always called me "her baby." I am just one in a very long list of Auntie Fern's "babies."

Beginning 63 years ago with my mother, who is the oldest of her nieces, she took to her heart each new baby that arrived. And each one has known her special love right down to the youngest baby in the family today -- my nephew Ronald John Staheli.

Each of Aunt Ila's children and grandchildren were hers, as were Aunt Vira's and, of course, my Grandpa Clem's too. And besides all these, each year for 45 years, as she taught school, she adopted about 35 new children because she really adored her borrowed families, too. She was a wonderful teacher and touched the lives of many people.

She was gifted and accomplished in sewing, fine handwork and in art. Some of you know her best for these talents which she shared generously.

She was a fiercely loyal friend. One of the best known definitions of a friend is ... "a friend in need is a friend indeed." She lived this principle and became a "port in a storm" many times for many people.

I guess I never thought there would ever be a time when Auntie Fern would not be with us. She was always so young! There was no generation gap between her and her "children." She always understood us. She wrote to me when I was on my mission and still seemed as young when I returned as I had always thought of her.

And so we all say "goodbye" for a little while to a lovely lady ....


Verda Fern Rawlins
May 20, 1889 -- Nov 6, 1975

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