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Obituary: Taft, Verna Jeanne

Age 66

TAFT, Verna Jeanne (Lee) (Age 66) September 19, 1946 November 9, 2012 Verna was born in Spokane to Paul O. Lee and E. Lauraine Lee. She is the second youngest of five children graduating from North Central High School in 1964. She married Kenneth “Ken” Raymond Thiefault in the same year and together they had four daughters (Denise, Melissa, Sheryl “Sherry” and Kenda). In the late ‘60s, Verna was a professional seamstress and upholsterer. She also sewed her family’s clothing including cherished prom dresses, costumes, swimming suits and even leisure suits for Ken. She was a “powder puff” race car driver and didn’t miss a Jets hockey game sporting a beehive hair-do. Verna loved visiting with friends over coffee. She also enjoyed listening to Johnny Cash, John Denver, Phoebe Snow and Janis Joplin. Verna had a special place in her heart for small children. In the mid-‘70s, she went to work as a social worker for Head Start until her illness and disability in the late ‘80s prevented her from working any longer. She is remembered as an amazing and loving grandma that would stay up with grandchildren through tough, colicky nights, and with Brandon when he had his days and nights confused. She was affectionately called “Meema” by her grandchildren who loved her saying “I love -a-love-a-love -a you!” to them often. Verna was a great driver. In addition to racing, she also worked in the tower of Spokane Raceway Park timing drag races. One time when she was taking Kenda to camp, she drove up a snowy Argonne hill in a rear wheel drive Celica when no one else made it. She often drove to Vancouver, WA, to visit her sister Paula. Before her disability, Verna was fun loving and active. She is remembered teaching Kenda to cartwheel in the front yard and helping Denise with a neighborhood water balloon and egg fight in the middle of the night. She was also a doer, a fighter, and she often made something out of nothing. She raised four very active girls after divorcing and starting with very little. Throughout her life, Verna enjoyed shopping. She loved to make holidays fun and giving presents that she shopped for during the entire year. Every year she would get a large Christmas tree and the decorations always included tinsel and candy canes, and stockings always included nuts and tangerines. Black Friday was one of her favorite shopping days. She would get up before the sun and was giddy about getting the best deals. We look forward to remembering her on Black Friday this year. Verna collected ceramic shoes, Beanie Babies and anything with a heart on it. Verna also was a Shih Tzu dog breeder. She enjoyed playing pinochle and most recently watching medical dramas on TV. Verna adopted and raised her grandson, Brandon. Now 20, Brandon has very fond memories of her including watching sports and going camping along with Grandma and Grandpa Lee. After a long, hard battle with several illnesses (beginning in 1989), our angel went to heaven on November 9th at Deaconess Hospital. She will be a dearly missed sister, mom, grandmother and great-grandmother. Verna is preceded in death by her mother, E. Lauraine Lee, and father, Paul O. Lee. She is survived by four siblings (Laurin Lee, Delrene “Del” Pisaturo, Paula Standfill and Mark Lee); four daughters (Denise Cully, Melissa Thurman, Sheryl Smart and Kenda Bishop); adopted son and grandson (Brandon Lee); eight grandchildren (Amanda Cully, Breanna Erdman-McCraw, Brenna Cully, SarÄ‚Ĺ ya Bishop, Alexis “Lexi” Thurman, Tara Lynn Heinrich, Kaylee Bishop and Elias Dirani) and two great-grandsons (Adrian Heinrich and Anthony “AJ” Cully). A celebration of Verna’s life will be held on Black Friday, November 23rd, at 4 PM at HAZEN AND JAEGER FUNERAL HOME which is located at 1306 NORTH MONROE. A reception will follow. Contributions in memory of Verna Taft may be made to CCS Foundation (Community Colleges of Spokane), PO Box 6000 - MS 1005, Spokane, WA, 99217-6000, 509-434-5123. Please indicate that the gift should be applied to the K. McGinnis Head Start Fund. This fund is for student scholarships. Thank you!