LaVerne (1921 - 2006)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Kaleta, Hurin, Hovorka, Romanowski, Jupin, Cook, Baker
----Sources: Thorp Courier (Thorp, WI.) December 6, 2006
Kaleta, LaVerne Hurin (June 22, 1921 - November 29, 2006)
LaVerne Hurin Kaleta departed this life at 9:49 p.m. on November 29, 2006, at Luther Midelfort Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at the age of 85.
LaVerne was born on June 22, 1921, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Edward and Alice Hurin. The family moved to Chicago where LaVerne attended Maternity BVM. LaVerne was an accomplished pianist and when not playing in recitals love to play in her spare time.
She met and fell in love with Emil Stanley Kaleta in Chicago and they were married on July 3, 1948.
LaVerne attended night school at DePaul University and successfully earned her nursing degree. She began working at the University of Illinois in Chicago as an RN in neurosurgery in 1953. Both LaVerne and Emil worked together at the University of Illinois for 20 years, where Emil was employed as the groundskeeper. LaVerne worked at the university for almost 40 years when she retired in 1985. LaVerne was part of the surgical team that in1963 successfully separated Siamese twins who were co-joined at the head. This was truly a venture into uncharted territory, as this surgery was a success without the use of today’s technology.
LaVerne and Emil were blessed through adoption with their children LeVon Emil (Lee) in 1966 and Allison LaVerne in 1969. She and Emil raised their children in a loving home environment making sure they had every opportunity life had to offer. LaVerne and Emil were separated by death when she lost him to brain cancer in 1978.
In 1981, LaVerne and her children moved from Chicago to Island Lake, Illinois where she lived until 2003. It was Laverne’s and Emil’s dream to retire in a home they built on the land they acquired in 1938. After fracturing her arm and being unable to live along, LaVerne split her time between her children. She spent six months of the year with Lee in Thorp, Wisconsin and six months with her daughter, Allison, and her family in Mesa, Arizona.
LaVerne liked to travel. Over the years she visited close to 49 contiguous states including Hawaii. In 1984, she and Allison visited Italy and Greece. She never sat home, always on the go. She loved bingo and played whenever she could. She made friends wherever she went with her friendly outgoing style, great sense of humor and good nature. She was generous to a fault with no one wanting for anything, as long as she was around. She was loved by all that knew her. LaVerne was part of many extended "families" through the children for whom she would baby-sit. "Grandma," as she was affectionately referred to by those left in her charge, loved and cherished every one of the children she kept as evidenced by how she spoke about them and displayed their pictures throughout her home. But the apples of her eye were her grand-children, who she loved and cherished. Nicholas, Alexis, Anthony, and Jake were always on her mind and not a moment went by when she didn’t speak or share a story about them. Always present was the grandmotherly pride that showed in her eyes when they were part of her conversation.
LaVerne was a bundle of spit, vinegar, and energy all wrapped in a 4’8", 105 pound soaking wet frame. She was very intelligent and had something to say about most everything and wouldn’t let too many get away with anything (except the grandchildren, maybe). But her bark was worse than her bite. She was afraid of nothing, facing everything head on. She was fiercely independent, only allowing those to do for her what she absolutely couldn’t do for herself. During her later years she spent much of her day working on her puzzles, watching the movies and TV shows on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime, and watching the game shows. While she loved Millionaire, The Price is Right, and Family Feud, God help those who got between her and Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune. The highlights of her week included the weekly phone calls to and from her grandchildren, sisters-in-law and her friend of 70 years, Edna Baker of West Chicago, Illinois.
We’re all going to miss LaVerne as she meant a lot to all of us. But let’s be grateful for the time we had with her, cherish the memories we have of her, and remember how much she loved each and every one of us.
LaVerne was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Alice; her husband, Emil; brother, Ed; and grandson, Samuel Alexander Hovorka (baby Sam).
LaVerne leaves to mourn her passing, her son, LeVon, and partner, Keith, of Thorp, Wisconsin; daughter, Allison and her husband, Stephen; grandchildren: Nicholas, Alexis, Anthony, and Jake Hovorka, all of Mesa, Arizona; sisters-in-law: Mariann Hurin, of Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Florence Romanowski, of Thorp, Wisconsin, Veronica Jupin and Rose Cook, both of St. Petersburg, Florida; and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
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