Elverna E. Christian

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Emma Alvira Clute was born on March 2, 1900, on a small farm in Elk Valley, Iowa, to Mary Jane (Taylor) and Arthur Eugene Clute. After the death of her mother in 1906, she was adopted by Emma Minnie and Henry John Kuhlman and given the name Elverna Emma. She lived most of her life in Iowa, growing up in Colesburg and attending Upper Iowa University where she graduated from both the School of Drama and of Speech. She taught school for one year, but decided she did not want to continue that and went to business school in Chicago and worked there for 2 years for the Western Union Telegraph Company.

She married Carl B. Christian at the Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua Iowa on June 24, 1925, and they went to live in Terril, Iowa, where he had just been elected superintendent of schools. A daughter, Darleane, was born there in 1926 and a son, Sherril Duane, in 1931. They moved to Coon Rapids, Iowa in 1933 when Carl was elected superintendent there and stayed there until 1941 when he was offered a similar position at West Union in northeast Iowa, close to where both of them had grown up. They lived there until Carl's sudden death of a heart attack in 1950.

After the death of her husband, Elverna went to Ames to live with her daughter who was in graduate school in chemistry and her son who was an undergraduate at Iowa State University. After her daughter received her Ph.D. in December 1951 and left Ames, Elverna became Housemother of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, which she dearly loved. During this time, she was chosen Ames Mother of the Year, an honor which meant so much to her. Sherril received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Iowa State in late 1955 and left to join the faculty of the chemistry department of the University of Oklahoma. Verna continued as Housemother at the ATO house until shortly after the death of her foster father in 1956, when she had to leave to go to Waterloo to work and care for her mother there.

Elverna lived in Iowa for her first 61 years and was very active in school, church and community affairs in the small Iowa towns where she lived as wife of the school superintendent. She wrote and directed many plays and skits for a variety of occasions and was correspondent for some local newspapers. She also loved to play bridge, which she continued to do for the rest of her life! She was an outgoing and friendly person and attracted many friends and made new friends easily. She had a gift for making the best of any situation and for adjusting to new circumstances, which stood her in good stead during her many moves. She was especially interested in young people, which also seemed to keep her very young! After the death of her husband in 1950 her son taught her to drive, which became one of the most liberating influences in her life and soon she was driving everywhere--going by herself or with her sisters or friends on long trips--across the country to Oklahoma to visit her son or to New Mexico to visit her daughter or on vacation trips or taking her mother with her on jaunts around Iowa!

After the death of Elverna's mother in 1961, her daughter persuaded her to come to Los Alamos, New Mexico to live where both Darleane and her husband, Marvin Hoffman, were employed at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Verna lived near them and helped to look after their children, Maureane and Daryl, until they graduated from Los Alamos high school in 1973 and 1977, respectively. She accompanied the family to Oslo, Norway to live during the year 1964-65 and enjoyed that and associated travels very much and later took two more trips to Europe. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos became a member of PEO (an organization which was very dear to her heart) and was active in the duplicate bridge club. She had many friends in Los Alamos but kept in touch with friends and relatives in Iowa and drove to Iowa many times by herself to visit.

Shortly after the death of her oldest sister, Nellie Clute, in Manchester, Iowa in 1975, her youngest sister, Minnie Richard, came to live with her in Los Alamos. In 1980, Elverna and Minnie went to spend winters in Sun City West, Arizona. After her sister Minnie died during the summer of 1984 and Darleane & Marvin moved to California, she began to spend most of her time in Sun City West. She had many good friends there and especially enjoyed playing bridge. In June 1993, she moved to the Glenwood Inn retirement center in Menlo Park, California, only 2 blocks from her grandson, Dr. Daryl Hoffman, and his wife, Dr. Susan Hoffman, and children in Atherton and about 40 miles from her Darleane & Marvin Hoffman, who were living in Oakland. She was very fond of her great grandchildren, Sarah and Daniel Hoffman, and happy to be able to see them nearly every day during this time. She was also able to visit with her son in Norman, Oklahoma and spend some time with her other great grandchild, Kevin Christian. She spent the last two weeks of her life in the home of Drs. Darly and Susan Hoffman and passed away there in her sleep on the afternoon of June 19, 1994, at age 94. She was buried in Phelps Cemetery in Decorah, Iowa, beside her husband, Carl B. Christian.

Paver Inscription:

"Elverna (Kuhlman) Christian
B: March 2, 1990: Elk Valley, IA
D: June 29, 1994: Atherton, CA"