Family Friends XII – Merna Vandeveer

This evening I heard the news of the passing of a long time family friend. When I heard the news my mind was flooded with memories.

Merna Peterson Vandeveer attended Midwestern School of Evangelism in Ottumwa, Iowa several years after my parents went to school there. We still lived in Ottumwa during that time.

Leeland Vandeveer, Vandeveer Singers, Leland and MernaMerna and her husband Leland were two of the original members of a singing group called The Gateway Singers which started in 1969. They sang with them for three years before moving to Indiana in 1972.

Leland Vandeveer, Leland and Merna, Ellen Peterson, Tom ReedyIn Indiana they formed a group called The Vandeveer Singers. Leland and Merna were joined by her sister Ellen and Tom Reedy.

Leland Vandeveer, Vandeveer Singers, Quartets, Gospel SingersTheir second album cover included their cute little daughter Pam.

Vandeveer Singers, Gospel Quartets, Gospel Groups, Vandeveer SingersI listened to these records over and over again while growing up, along with the Blackwood Brothers, The Gateway Singers and many other gospel groups.

My first real memory of the Vandeveers was after we moved to Ashland, Kansas. We had just recently moved there from Ottumwa and Leland was in Ashland for an anniversary celebration for his parents. Leland had grown up in Ashland and graduated from high school there in 1966. His parents still lived there and his mother was a member of the Ashland Church of Christ where my father preached. I can still remember him singing Daisy, Daisy with his daughter Pam at the celebration.

Ashland, Kansas, Vandeveer, MemoriesI have many more memories of Leland’s parents George and Nora. I would help them with many tasks around their house and I have wonderful memories of worshiping with Nora. At the time we moved to Ashland George was not a member of the church. However, he soon started attending and after many years was baptized. George and Nora would attend many of our school functions, which were quite a few with five of us kids in school at one time.

I searched for pictures of George and Nora in my archives, but I could not find one. The best I could find was the picture above. The picture must have been taken when my parents visited Ashland for my Dad to try out as preacher. Nora is the tall lady in the black and white dress.

My Dad is on the left holding my younger sister and my youngest brother is also in the picture. Us older kids were back in Iowa so that we did not miss school.

So many memories tonight as I remember the Vandeveers. The Vandeveer and Peterson families are in my prayers tonight as well as the many friends who will dearly miss Merna.

Steven

This entry was posted in Family History, Memories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Family Friends XII – Merna Vandeveer

  1. Sharon Osborn says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I didn’t know Merna though I’m sure I’ve met her. I knew Leland well from high school. I still can’t believe he’s gone.

  2. Heartfelt condolences.

    On Thursday, August 26, 2021, Braman’s Wanderings wrote:

    > vanbraman posted: “This evening I heard the news of the passing of a long > time family friend. When I heard the news my mind was flooded with > memories. Merna Peterson Vandeveer attended Midwestern School of Evangelism > in Ottumwa, Iowa several years after my parents went t” >

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