The final chapter in the book of Viola Amethyst Gardner Cady’s life was concluded on February 1, 2014, as she gracefully departed her life, moving ever forward.
Much as she has always been able to do, she knew what needed to be done and did it. Born February 11, 1920, in Clearwater, Florida, the fourth daughter of Julia Selby Gardner and Fredrick Elliott Gardner, she and her siblings, Elliott, Edgar (Slim), Ralph, Ruth, Opal, Pearl, Mary, Richard, Arnold, and Myron, moved to North Carolina and later Nebraska via Washington, D.C., in December of 1922. They settled in the Rockford community. She attended high school in Gordon, working for her room and board, while completing her normal training to become a teacher, earning both degrees in 1939. After teaching school for one year at a rural school, Vi married Ben Frank Cady on July 2, 1940, living on a ranch near Merriman, Nebraska, with Ben’s entire family. After having children, Ben, Vi and their kids made their way to Petersburg and Chester, Nebraska, before settling in Gordon in July of 1973, where Vi cooked (excelling at baking powder biscuits) at the Gordon Memorial Hospital for ten years.
According to Walt Whitman, life lived is “that the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” The verse of Vi’s life pervaded many lives. Her quiet, independent strength and compassionate determination sustained her through life, enduring the loss of children and difficulty of raising a family in the post-Depression Midwest during the war and its aftermath. With practicality and matter-of-fact demeanor, she taught her family principles, how to soldier on, do what needed done, do it well, and do it with quiet dignity, not expecting praise or accolades. Her hobbies, love of learning, and talents blessed her family with treasures. She crocheted, tatted, embroidered (including personalized Christmas stockings for every great grandchild), painted, knitted, quilted, sewed, darned or crafted. Her green thumb produced bountiful fruits and vegetables during her life, and flower bulbs cultivated from her flower beds, scattering beauty and color throughout the United States. Although not a demonstrative person, her sentimentality was evidenced by her collection of photographs, mementos, cards, letters, and other memorabilia from her life. An avid reader from childhood, her love of learning never ceased. As an adult, she helped provide library services and artwork to others. A nurturer, she provided for those who needed - whether it was food, art, conversation, library books or common sense.
Her verse echoes on through her five surviving children and families: Betty and Norman Mapes, Walter and Jane Cady, Carol and Bob Garner, Ben and Spider Cady, and Steve and Lynne Cady. Those families include numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and generations of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, extended family, friends, and admirers.
She will be greeted in Heaven by her husband, Ben; three sons, Dickie, Donnie and David; her parents; all ten of her siblings; grandson, Byran; and extended family and friends.
To celebrate her life and mourn the fading of the verse of the steadfast, dependable and accepting soul we were blessed to share our lives with, services will be held Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the Gordon United Methodist Church in Gordon, Nebraska. Cremation was chosen, and inurnment will be at the Gordon Cemetery. Chamberlain Pier Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements. Memorials can be made in Vi’s honor to the Gordon Memorial Library.