February 24, 2014 between 1:00 and 2:00 AM, Neva LaRue Kerby died at the age of 92. Thanks to Denver Hospice and Homestead of Lakewood Assisted Living for all of their help and attention. Per a friend's suggestion, I will write a short piece on my Mom. My friend reminded me that those interested in ancestry often find their past in obituaries, etc. we will not be posting an obituary in the newspaper but the Olinger website will suffice.
Neva LaRue Kerby (she hated her middle name) was born at home in Davis County, Iowa to James Joseph Lloyd Kinsler and Leona Ruth Francis Kinsler on June 3, 1921. She was the fifth of seven children--Edith, Ethel (Purdy), Willard (Neg), Irene (Bird), Neva (Jew), Polly (Martha) and Robert (Bob) and survived all of them. They all had nicknames given to them by a boy who lived with the family off and on. At the age of 12, Neva found herself without a mother due to breast cancer. Leona Ruth had had a double mastectomy and died at home a few years later. Shortly after that, Neva left school, finishing the 8th grade. She worked as a housekeeper for friends and family in her young adult years.
Neva played a little Dobro and taught herself how to sew. Her daughter hardly ever wore a store bought piece of clothing and was the envy of many schoolmates. she even made all the clothes for her daughter's dolls.
In 1939, Joe Kerby was driving around Bloomfield, Iowa's town square with his friend, Basil Rose in a 1929 Chevy. They saw two girls walking and asked them if they wanted to ride around in the car. As Dad puts it, "I kept my girl and Basil didn't".
Just after Pearl Harbor, Joe asked Neva to marry him. He had to have his mother's (Iris Kerby) permission as he was only 20 years old. Obviously, Neva said yes and they were married on 12/31/1941 by a minister in a private home with six people in attendance. They lived on a farm in West Grove until 1955 when they moved to Denver because of their son's (James Gary Kerby) asthma. By then they had a daughter as well--Marietta (pronounced Marita) Kerby.
The early years in Denver, Neva took in washing and ironing. She loved to watch Jack LaLanne and soap operas. Later she worked in the Fabric Department for the Denver Dry Goods and retired in 1983.
Neva had a few scares with cancer in the fifties with lumps removed. When she was 80, the cancer caught up with her requiring the removal of her left breast and lots of lymph nodes. Just as an FYI -- a mammogram caught one lump, and ultrasound found another. Neither test found both. She had a series of radiation treatments and was cancer free for the rest of her life.
Neva followed her husband Joe around the country in a fifth wheel trailer for about twelve years after they retired. They then settled in Aurora, Colorado. They lived independently until June of 2013 when they moved to Lowry Assisted Living (which I wouldn't recommend to anyone). In January 2014, we moved them to a much better facility, Homestead of Lakewood, where Neva died. She had pneumonia, kidney failure, an irregular heartbeat and an autoimmune disease of her eye. This, along with a serious loss of hearing, kept her pretty isolated for the last few months of her life.
Neva Kerby had a loving, giving heart and gave everything she had to family and friends. The last years of her life wore her out and the last months of her life were a physical and mental struggle, but she was mentally alert (more so than I have ever been) until the Friday before her death.
She is survived by her loving husband, Joe Kerby, her son, James Gary Kerby and her daughter, Marietta J Kerby.
She will be cremated with no service, per her request. Dad is also 92 and is doing well but misses his dear wife of 72 years.
Thank you all, Marietta Kerby