FRANKFORT — Verna Snyder Gates Vigland, 94, of Frankfort, died March 12, 2013, at the Maples.
Verna was born to Merle and Ruby Snyder on Aug. 11, 1918. She was the third of 11 children and fondly recalled taking care of her younger siblings on their family farm.
The family moved to Frankfort, where Verna attended school and resided for the remainder of her life. She was as proud of the town of Frankfort as a resident could be.
Verna attended County Normal School and later Central Michigan University, earning a degree in education.
She began her teaching career at the small school at Putney Corners. Moving on to Onekama Schools, she taught elementary grades, primarily first grade, for many years. Verna was a natural educator and threw herself completely into her profession.
She had many stories of knitting mittens, darning socks or providing a warm breakfast for less fortunate students. Her home is filled with pictures of her students as well as adoring notes from students from over the years. Verna also found time to operate the Polka Dot restaurant in Pilgrim, now known as Crystal View, for many seasons.
Verna and Theodore “Ted” Gates were married in 1937. Together they adopted and lovingly raised two sons, Billy and Paul, who preceded her in passing. Ted passed away in 1969. Verna was married to Gerald Vigland in 1973. Gerald passed away in 1974.
In addition to her own children, she played influential roles in the lives of numerous nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Retirement was very active for Verna. She enjoyed long walks about town, cross country skiing, exploring and travel. Particular delights were long walks in the woods at morel mushroom time. Memorable trips included two visits to Europe with longtime friend, Fran Larson, as well as visits to family members around the U.S.
A competitive player, she established the Frankfort Duplicate Bridge Club, which she hosted at her home for many years. Verna was an accomplished gardener and took pride in maintaining gorgeous gardens around her home. Filled with wildlife, her backyard was her special place for gathering with family and friends and reflection. Verna was an exquisite cook and delighted in entertaining crowds around a beautiful table.
Always finding time for others, she was a loving and dedicated caregiver to dozens of grateful family members and friends over the years.
Verna attended St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Frankfort.
She is survived by her siblings, Eugene (Diane) Snyder, Juanita “Deda” (Dale) VanDerleest, Roberta Dilley and Blanche (Dale) Herren; nieces and nephews, Cheryl (Tom) Zatkovic, Diane (Mac) McNamara and Ted (Linda) Hansen; stepson, Alan (Susie) Vigland; and numerous nieces, nephews, step-grandchildren and grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Ray, Clarence and Charles; and sisters, Mildred, Grace and Catherine.
A memorial service will be held at St. Ann’s Church, Frankfort, on Saturday, April 6, 2013, at 10 a.m., with Father John Porter celebrating. Lunch will follow the service.
Contributions may be directed to Benzie Shores District Library, PO Box 631, Frankfort, MI 49635.
Arrangements are by Jowett Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Frankfort and Benzonia.