Iva Willene Calvert

June 14, 1945October 2, 2019

Iva Willene (Taylor) Calvert passed away peacefully at home on October 2, 2019, following a brief illness. She was 74.

Born in Buckeye, AZ, and raised in Bakersfield, CA, Willene was the sixth of Virgil and Tressie Taylor's eight children. Tressie was a homemaker, from whom Willene learned those skills; her dad was part of Bakersfield's farm economy, primarily as a farm equipment mechanic. After marrying in 1972, Willene was a Marine wife for over two decades and, once settled here, became an active member of the Yuma community. She was a Girl Scout leader for over 15 years, encouraging girls and young women to reach for the stars. She was also a pillar of Pecan Grove Garden Club, which she joined in 1986, serving in many positions, and ever on the lookout for interesting pieces to decorate the birdhouses the club makes to sell as a fundraiser. She couldn't pass up a thrift shop or yard sale for fear of missing out on some unique, fun treasure to embellish them, or to enhance her own garden. Willene loved Jesus, and served Him by feeding children through her church, treating everyone who came in contact with her with love and respect, always reaching out to others in friendship, and always considering others before herself. She was never afraid to get her hands dirty, whether gardening, changing babies, crafting, cleaning up messes, or doing an unappealing job for someone who needed her help.

Willene valued many things, but most especially her family and friends. She was a totally dedicated mom, and her grandchildren were the lights of her life, with whom she spent countless hours crafting, helping them prepare Fair entries, ferrying them to activities, or just being lovingly together. Her home was for living in and making memories, and spoiling her grandchildren was her favorite way of doing that. Cluttery craft projects everywhere? Paint or glue splotches where they didn't belong? Fine. A two-year-old walking across the counter to watch her cook? Toddler fingers in the cookie dough? Not a problem. She spoiled them, yes-but never rotten-spoiled, just abundantly love-spoiled-and she never missed any affair they were part of. Sporting events, concerts, awards ceremonies, talent shows, parades-they knew Mimi would be there. Her pets and her plants were also important pieces of her life, and she was an excellent cook, known for her chocolate layered dessert and the world's best potato salad. Overall, perhaps the best word to describe Willene in all her roles is "special"-particularly a special wife and mother, a special Mimi, a special friend. Her sweet presence will be sorely missed.

Willene is survived by her husband of 47 years, Walter Dean Calvert, daughters Carrie (Tom) Safranek and Lori (Augie) Clarkson, and grandchildren Steven (Jacqueline) Contreras Safranek, Hailey Contreras Safranek, Taylor and Brody Clarkson, and besties Sharon Jessup and Barbara Porter. Also surviving are her sister, Jenice (Carl) Northam, and brothers Harold (Bertha) Taylor, Larry (Linda) Taylor, and Gary (Chris) Taylor. She was preceded in death by her parents, Virgil and Tressie Taylor, her sister, Jacqueline (Jackie) Benbrook, and brothers Bill (Lorraine "living") Taylor and Bert (Virginia) Taylor.

A graveside memorial service, to celebrate an amazing woman and an incredible life, will be held at Desert Lawn at 1:00pm on Saturday, October 12, 2019. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to a project dear to Willene's heart, the National Garden Clubs Penny Pines Program (, which replants trees in areas damaged by fires or other natural disasters.


  • Graveside Service Saturday, October 12, 2019


Iva Willene Calvert

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