Verla Jean Hart
September 22, 1928 – April 26, 2021
Verla Jean Bailey was born on September 22, 1928 in Urbana, Kansas, the second daughter of Beulah Adria Coder Bailey and Levi Hodson Bailey. She had an older sister, Eva Faye, and a younger brother, Dwane. Her parents were farmers and money was scarce when the Great Depression hit just a year after her birth. It was important to her parents that their children go to high school, as they themselves had only graduated from 8th grade, but there was no high school in Urbana. So Verla moved with her sister Eva Faye to Chanute, a neighboring town, when she was 13. She and Eva Faye shared an apartment with several other neighbor girls but they were essentially living on their own. In 1946, Verla was set up on a blind date with Floyd James Hart. They were married on June 20, 1948, and left Chanute the following day, headed for Richland, Washington in Floyd’s Model A Ford. They settled in Richland in a 28-foot Airstream trailer and spent four years working construction jobs before welcoming their first child, Connie Jean, in February, 1952. By 1954 they had upgraded to a 33-foot Airstream and were living in Portland when they welcomed Nancy Jo, in July. By Nancy’s first birthday they were living in Colorado. After Floyd’s father, James Hart, passed away in December 1953 Floyd and Verla moved their family back to Kansas to take up dairy farming. Verla worked at a bank in Chanute and then as a secretary, in addition to helping work the farm, to help make ends meet. Their third daughter, Barbara Jill, was born in December, 1959 and then another girl, Laura Jane, arrived in February, 1962. Farm life was idyllic for the kids but proved unprofitable, so Floyd also went to work full time in addition to working the farm. After his near-fatal car accident in 1963, they decided to returned to Oregon. Verla was especially happy to be back in Oregon and could not get enough of the mountain views and the Pacific Ocean. In addition to modeling the working woman to her daughters, she delighted in baking and reading bedtime stories, and later taught them to sew and cook. She and Floyd also grew much of the family’s food in their vegetable garden and then canned the produce. In 1975, Verla became grandmother to Lindsey, born in August, when Verla was 46. Fifteen years later, Johanna was born and then Harrison and Samuel, born on Thanksgiving and Christmas respectively, arrived in 1993. The year Verla retired from SEH America, she helped Floyd recover from an extensive cancer surgery and treatment. She volunteered at the American Cancer Society for ten years and spent several years reading with children at a nearby elementary school. Verla and Floyd also traveled during their retirement to exotic locales and took car trips around the US. When Floyd passed away in 2004, Verla embraced single life. She moved to Portland to be closer to her family and met new friends at the local gym. She also volunteered at the local food bank, at the hospital and joined a garden club in addition to caring for and enjoying time with her grandchildren. Friends from her working years, who shared her love of gardening, frequently came to have lunch with her and admire the garden she’d built. In the last several years of her life, she slowly succumbed to dementia, which made it increasingly difficult to pursue her passions, but she nonetheless enjoyed near-daily chats on the phone with her daughters and grandchildren. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday, April 26th, 2021 surrounded by family.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.skylinememorialgardens.com for the Hart family.
Friday, May 7, 2021
Verla Jean Hart
May 10, 2021
I loved going to visit Verla with her daughter Laura. Verla always had such a welcoming spirit, she always was so happy to have company. I don't think I can ever recall a time she didn't have a smile on her face, and thinking back now of her laugh puts a smile on my face.
I will always be grateful that I met such a wonderful woman.
May 6, 2021
I’m saddened by the loss of this beautiful woman. Verla was independent yet devoted to Floyd and her girls. She had the best sense of humor but her serious words of wisdom have stayed with me over the years. I’m young enough to have been her daughter but she raised some pretty great girls and treated me as a friend. I cherish the time we spent together.
May 2, 2021
Verla was a good friend with whom I shared great times at the Cascade Pool and coffee after for several years. We shared many thoughts, ideas and even some family heart-breaks. I've missed those times together as she was no longer able to participate. I send condolences to her daughters and their families.