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Elizabeth Vervoon; Seamstress, Homemaker

October 20, 2000

Elizabeth "Bessie" Vervoon, a homemaker, seamstress and award-winning crocheter, died Sunday at Victoria Care Center in Ventura after a brief illness. She was 96.

Vervoon was born April 7, 1904, in Sandstone, Minn., on her family's farm. She came to Ventura in 1926 and married her second husband, Neal Vervoon, in 1929. She worked at Wheeler Hot Springs and Ventura Laundry, and later sewed alterations at Jack Rose, Grace Scott's Shop, Windsor Men's Shop and Rex's Baby Shop.

In later years, she lived with her daughter, Dorothy Douglas, of Ventura, who said her mother told many stories of her childhood in Minnesota, including being struck by lightning while standing inside an unfinished farmhouse.

"She was leaning on the doorknob and the lightning threw her across the room," Douglas said.

Her mother wasn't seriously injured, Douglas said, but all the nailheads--which had just been hammered into the new house's walls--were incinerated.

Vervoon, who took up crocheting in 1975, created more than 300 afghans, Douglas said. She won many awards for her work, including a "Best of Show" ribbon at the Ventura County Fair in 1995 for a pink and purple chevron-patterned afghan. Vervoon was 91 at the time.

"It was her therapy," Douglas said. "She just went from one to the other."

Vervoon had many friends and was known to everyone as "Aunt Bessie," Douglas said.

In addition to Douglas, she is survived by sons Bob Kanis of Minnesota and Adrian Vervoon of Oregon; a sister, Margaret Hansen of San Miguel; a brother, John Feyma of Ventura; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.

Visitation will be from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Ted Mayr Funeral Home, Ventura. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ted Mayr Funeral Home, with the Rev. Terry Cox of the East Ventura Foursquare Church officiating.

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