Viola Margaret “Vi” Devine McNulty, 96, died Aug. 8, 2005, at the Siuslaw Care Center in Florence.
A private family graveside service was held in honor of Viola on Aug. 18 at Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland. A rosary and Mass for the repose of the soul of Viola were offered at the St. Therese Catholic Church in Halfway.
Vi Devine was born on Nov. 13, 1908, in Oklahoma to Herbert and Ida Cecilia Stroud Devine. At birth Vi weighed less than three pounds. Stories passed down from family indicate that her tiny head would fit in a teacup and all of her would fit in a shoebox. Vi’s petite physical stature would follow throughout her life; however, being small never proved to hold her back.
Vi was raised in Kansas City, where she attended Catholic schools throughout her childhood. Kansas was her metaphysical birthplace as family and friends are aware she would rarely fess up to being born in Oklahoma. Vi graduated from high school in Kansas and later met her future husband at a Kansas dance hall. She married her lifelong dancing partner, Walter McNulty, on Nov. 12, 1927. They were later the proud parents of two daughters, Nora and Margaret.
Vi led a very colorful life and pursued many interests. Her work-life included: waitressing at an affluent boarding house; inspecting airplane wings at San Diego’s Consolidated (she was the only one small enough to fit in the wings!); owning two restaurants; dietitian; dental assistant; attending college and earning her teaching certificate; teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic School in El Centro, Calif.; museum curator at the Oxbow Museum in Aurora . . . and if all that wasn’t enough, she also helped her husband build two of their homes as well as refurbish many pieces of antique furniture.
Vi was very kind-hearted and always willing to lend a hand. In her younger days, she and Walt often provided servicemen with a weekend away from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and good home-cooked meals. On Sunday night after closing their restaurant, Vi and Walt would drive the servicemen back to Camp Pendleton using only their dimmer lights as guides. (San Diego was in “blackout” for security during the war, and all families had to black out their windows with paint or paper and only dimmer lights could be used on cars after dusk. The blackout was imposed by the military for fear that Japan would bomb the city.)
Vi was also very passionate about many hobbies. She enjoyed reading, singing, cooking, sewing, making her own patterns, knitting, crocheting, and gardening. She was as generous with her knowledge in these areas as she was a perfectionist. She was happy to teach anyone who wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, for example — whether friend or mere acquaintance. However, any observer had to be prepared to see her rip apart one of her many beautiful creations due to a small imperfection. Once torn apart, the creation would be redone. If you didn’t see the “fixing” session you would be none the wiser.
Wherever she lived, her house was known as the “plant hospital.”
Her granddaughter, Dorothy Hampton, remembers taking numerous plants on their last “roots” to Grandma Vi’s hospital. Vi’s green thumb ensured that the plants always returned in tip-top shape.
As those who loved her know, jobs or hobbies were never an excuse to neglect family. Taking care of her family was always Vi’s number one concern, passion and love. She will be greatly missed by those who mourn her passing, and readily greeted by those who preceded her in death.
Viola is survived by two daughters, Nora Shanklin Cusic of Florence, and Margaret “Midge” Nale and her husband, Jack, of Richland; six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great grandchildren.
Vi was preceded in death by her parents, Ida and Herbert Devine; her husband of 61 years, Walt McNulty; three brothers, Jim, Frank and Sam; one sister, Agnes; one grandson, Don Shanklin Jr.; one great-grandson, Joe Nale Jr.; one great-great-grandson, Luke Shanklin; and two sons-in-law, Donald Shanklin and Ken Cusic.
Contributions in Vi’s memory may be made to either the Florence or Eagle Valley public libraries to be used to buy large-print books. Contributions may be made through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, August 26, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor