Neva Weatherwax Brown
April, 27, 1912 - Jan. 26, 2012
RAND, Colorado --Neva Weatherwax Brown passed away on Jan. 26, 2012. Born to Frank and Vena Weatherwax on April 27, 1912, in Lebanon, Nebraska, Neva was the last surviving of their five children, Glen, Dean, Byron and Lena.
She graduated from high school in 1930, attended Hastings College and taught school in the area for the next few years where she was courted by a young man who'd 'fallen for the cook in the play,' when he"d seen her in her senior year play in high school. Johnnie Brown wooed her and won her, and they were married on Aug. 11, 1935. They lived near the Brown family farm and worked and taught until their first daughter, Veneta, was born in 1937. That year, they moved to North Park, Colorado and began to work for Ordway Mellon in the Coalmont, Colorado area. A son, Wayne, was born in 1942 and another in 1945, Verl. Neva continued to teach in the Coalmon and Rand schools. In 1949, she and Johnnie bought the ranch the family and community knew as 'Peaceful Pines,' Grama's House, or Neva and Johnnie's in Rand. They remained there and raised their family.
Neva was a nurturer, a prayer warrior, a listener, and involved in her family's lives. She hugged them when they hurt, taught them life lessons they wouldn't learn from anyone else, and cared about what they did and who they would become. She rocked children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, taught them all to cook her special 'made with Gram's love' dishes, and lived a life of compassion, learning, and community building. She was involved in the Covenant Church when it was in Walden, as well as the Methodist Church. Her wisdom and counsel were true gifts to many.
Neva and Johnnie loved to travel, learning about new places and experiencing new things wherever they went. Adventures were often recounted around the Brown family table. While they loved traveling, they remained the center of their family, hosting several family reunions as well as countless holiday meals in their home. Johnnie went home to be with the Lord in 1997, and we all know he was waiting with open arms and a gentle smile to welcome Neva's arrival!
To say it was a full and rewarding life is to suggest the mountains she loved and lived in all her adult life were small hills. She influenced her family, taught them about love, responsibility and how to care about others. She was a motivator to be better, to become what God wanted others to be, and to celebrate milestones as they were achieved.
She was loved deeply and will be missed by her family, numerous nieces and nephews, friends, and community. She is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren: her daughter Veneta Haworth (Jack) of Walden, sons Wayne Brown (Dodey) of Encampment, Wyoming and Verl Brown (Anne) of Loveland; grandchildren Lanita Legan (Lonnie) of Wimberley, Texas, Carla Van Valkenburg (Chris) of Walden, Marlan Hanson, Tracy Hanson (Bev) of Danville, Indiana, Jenny Brown, of Rawlins, Wyoming, Katy (Mike) Blake of Encampment, Wyoming, Amy Mitzel (Andy) of Soldotna, Alaska, and Chad (Brenda) Brown of Rand; her great grandchildren: Adam Van Valkenburg of Walden, Ethan Van Valkenburg of Fort Collins, Mandie Hanson of Walden, Kaitlyn Hanson of Hays, Kansas, Zane Hanson of Danville, Indiana, Jillian Hanson of Danville, Indiana, Brennan Mitzel of Soldotna, Alaska, Calvin Mitzel of Soldotna, Alaska and Daniel Mitzel of Soldotna, Alaska.
A memorial service to celebrate Neva's life will be held in the spring, when the wildflowers she loved begin to bloom and the snow is less likely to fly!