Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate
Vida is survived by her daughter, Sun City Anthem resident Jane Noll, grandchildren Anne Mumm and Robert Noll, and great-grandchildren Matthew Mumm and Emily Hoffmann-Noll.
A memorial service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at Green Valley Presbyterian Church, 1798 Wigwam Parkway, in Henderson. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Odyssey Harbor House Hospice, 4011-A McLeod, Las Vegas, NV 89121.
The Story of a Life Well Lived
Vida, the daughter of George and Frederica Risley Isherwood, was born in Tampico, Illinois on January 18, 1905, the same year Albert Einstein introduced his Theory of Relativity. Her father was owner and editor of the local newspaper, the Tampico Tornado. Six years after Vida’s birth, her father published the birth announcement of Ronald Reagan, and Vida and her family knew Ronald Reagan and his family.
At the time of Vida’s birth, her family’s mode of transportation was a horse and buggy. The Isherwoods were the first family in town to have a bathtub in the bathroom, connected to water pipes. Until that time, bathtubs would usually be found in the kitchen and would be hand-filled by pouring buckets of water into the tub. Vida told her daughter Jane that finding time to use the bathroom was sometimes a challenge because of all the visitors who wanted to see the amazing new contraption in their bathroom.
Unlike most women of her day, Vida’s education did not stop with her 1922 high school graduation. After starting her college days at Rockford College, she went on to the Northwestern School of Speech, where one of her classmates was future famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Vida recalled that Bergen was already dreaming up skits for his earliest version of his Charlie McCarthy dummy, which he fashioned by hand from a tree that was in his backyard.
In 1927, Vida graduated from Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, where she earned a degree in dramatics. After graduation she taught public speaking at Bradford Academy in Boston, a fashionable junior college for women.
Vida was an adventurous woman for her time. In the mid-1920s she and several other Emerson classmates drove from Boston to Illinois in a Ford touring car, not an easy excursion in those days.
When her mother became ill, Vida moved back to Rockford, Illinois to help care for her and taught public speaking in the local school system.
Jane Noll recounts an amusing incident involving her mother: “Somewhere around 1930, she and her cousin Dudley Risley were on a motor excursion and crossed into Nebraska, where they were shortly pulled over by the police and arrested. This was around the time the Bonnie and Clyde gang were terrorizing the Midwest with robberies and killings. A busybody woman looking from her window thought the car mother and Dudley were driving resembled Bonnie and Clyde’s vehicle, so she called the police. The police needed time to investigate, so they charged them with a violation of the Mann Act, which was designed to prevent the transport of unmarried women across state lines for immoral purposes. Soon after, of course, they were released.”
In 1931 Vida married Neil Venters and the couple moved to St. Louis, where daughter Jane was born. In later years the family relocated to Dayton and then to Mansfield, both in Ohio, where Vida continued to teach public school.
Vida’s husband Neil passed away in 1963. Back in St. Louis, she married Max Shelton, and the two lived in St. Louis for 23 years until he died.
By this time daughter Jane, who had two children and one grandchild, was living in Dallas, Texas. Vida joined her there and lived in a retirement community.
Jane’s husband passed away in 1997, and a year later her job required relocation to Denver, accompanied by Vida.
In April of 2000, Vida and Jane made Sun City Anthem their home, and Vida, already in her 90s, became involved in various activities that helped keep her young. She was a member of the Book Club and did ceramics, and kept limber as an active participant in Sit ‘N B Fit.
In 2009, Willard Scott wished Vida a happy 104th birthday on The Today Show. “He was supposed to do it on mother’s 100th birthday,” Jane recalls, “but the greetings were canceled that day because it was the day of President George W. Bush’s second inauguration. Then they wouldn’t do it the next two years because they said their records showed she had already been recognized on the program. But we finally got that fixed with a little help from our friends.”
When a little girl was born in 1905, she was given the name Vida, which is the Spanish word for “life.” The name was perfect for her, because Vida was a person who loved life, loved people, and brought happiness to many because of her warmth and friendliness. Vida was a blessing and a treasure, and will remain in our hearts.
(Thank you to Jane Noll and Sheila Morse for contributing to this remembrance)
A special thank you to David Berman for composing this elegant tribute to my wonderful Grandmother.
P.S. I miss you Nanny….
Vida Shelton, Age 105
Nanny ~ My Wonderful Grandmother!