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.
Merna 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.
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.
I 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.