WESTBY — Vida L. Stillman, 98, died Saturday, March 17, 2018, at Norseland Nursing Home in Westby.
The world became a better place June 26, 1919, when Vida Lavine Nelson was born to Mahl and Clara Nelson in Alma Center, Wis. There were eight years between Vida and her next brother, Orlin. Therefore by necessity, Vida became her father’s right-hand “man” on the farm and it was here that she learned her incredible work ethic, love of family and trust in God. Little brother Maynard was born six years later and the family of five lived and worked on the farm in Osseo, Wis.
At the age of 19, Vida married her neighbor and childhood friend, Ralph Spencer Stillman, and they began their life working side by side on the Stillman family farm. Life on the farm was intertwined with hard work and a love of animals. Ralph and Vida were blessed with four children, Dewayne, Larry, Darlene and Sandra. In 1952, with the promise of better work, the family loaded up in the car and moved to southern California. Vida worked hard taking care of her household and she also worked odd jobs until settling at Alta-Dena Dairy, where she first worked with Ralph on the farm taking care of the cattle and candling eggs, and eventually handled the records for the trucks.
In 1976, Ralph was diagnosed with lung cancer and in 1977, he passed away, just one month short of their 40th anniversary. Although brokenhearted, Vida leaned on the Lord and was ever resilient. She kept working and decided to fulfill her dream of finishing high school. In 1979, she graduated valedictorian of her class. She was not satisfied with that. She went to college and took bookkeeping courses. She also went to cake decorating school and while still working for Alta-Dena Dairy, she decorated cakes, sometimes working on them late into the night. She was asked to join the worldwide association of Quota Club and became the southwest governor of the organization in 1982. She traveled all over the U.S. and did all of it while still working full time for Alta-Dena Dairy. Because God was first to her, being part of a church family was always an important part of her life.
More heartbreak would come to Vida with the loss of her son, Larry, in 1985. But again, her unwavering trust in the Lord sustained her.
Vida finally retired in 1990 and moved to Wisconsin. She spent her years here gardening, taking care of her many cats and keeping busy. By sharing time in both California and Wisconsin, Vida was able to impact her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and teach them what really matters.
Vida is survived by her children, DeWayne (Faye) Stillman, Darlene Stueve and Sandy (Dave) McCosh; 11 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
Losing her parents; husband; son; great-grandson, Christian; grandson, David; granddaughter, Wendy; and son-in-law, Harlan; was heartbreaking for Vida, but her deep trust in God supplied her with the peace that surpasses understanding. She knew that this life is but a vapor in light of eternity and Heaven is the true home. Welcome home, Vida! Well done!
Funeral services for Vida will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Vosseteig Funeral Home in Westby. Pastor John McCosh will officiate. Burial will take place later in California. Friends may call during a visitation from 10 until 11 a.m. one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers or plants, memorials should be directed to the American Cancer Society, in Vida’s name.
The Vosseteig Funeral Home, 708 S. Main St., in Westby is serving the family. Online condolences may be offered at www.vossfh.com.