She was born Jan. 31, 1913 to Nellie A. and Richard Wende. The daughter of a railroad man, Violet, along with her brother, Charles, and sister, Gladys, grew up following the rails and ties westward from her birthplace in Michigan City, Ind. to Tacoma, Wash. Her father was boss of a crew charged with the task of bringing electricity to the railroad.
The family’s “mobile” home was often a converted boxcar. They had a chance to live in a “regular” house on three occasions. The first time was an extended stay in Miles City, Mont.; the second long stay in was in Deer Lodge, Mont. where she lived in a little house adjacent to the territorial prison. Ultimately, Violet’s teenage years found her family living in Tacoma, Wash.
Just about a year shy of the required minimum age, Violet somehow managed to get herself admitted to nursing school. She completed registered nurses training in 1933 at Providence Catholic Hospital in Seattle, Wash. Graduating at the top of her class, she was in the top 10 statewide on her nursing board exams that year.
On a trip to see her sister in San Diego, Violet met Paul Dail. In 1936 they were married, and together they had two children. In addition to her children, Paula (Bill Ladewig), and Dan (Jill), she leaves behind seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. After her own children were grown, Violet re-activated her nursing license and continued to work in the profession for several more years before her retirement.
Like so many people born in a time that produced what’s been called the greatest generation, Violet came of age during the Great Depression. She lived horse and buggy to space travel, two world wars, times of prosperity and times of despair, penicillin, telegraph to text message, gigabytes, Model T and Minivan.
Surely, one whose eyes have seen 103 years would have a lengthy obituary filled with history, stories and remembrances. She wanted only this: “If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudices against others. Give my soul to God. If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do as I ask, I will live forever.” (Author unknown)
Violet’s family will commend her ashes March 6.