LaVina Summers


LaVina Summers of Grand Junction, Colo., died Feb. 10, 2004, following a sudden illness. She was 90. Summers was the mother of the late Polly Siminoe of Craig.

Summers was born March 13, 1913 on a farm near Leoti, Kan., to James Franklin and Elizabeth (Thompson) Elder.

Summers was the sixth child in a family of 12 children. (There were also eight children from her father's first marriage.) She attended country school until her family moved to town when Summers was in the eighth grade.

She graduated from high school in Leoti on May 12, 1930. She attended teacher training school in Hays, Kan., and then taught school for three and one-half years.

Summers met Sheldon Bates (Doc) Summers and they were married April 27, 1934 (the same day as his parents' 50th wedding anniversary) in Sublette, Kan.

To this union were born two children, a daughter, Polly Lee, and a son, Lloyd. They farmed near Leoti until the Dust Bowl forced them to move to Colorado. After a few months they returned to Kansas, then after one and a half years, they came back to Colorado to stay.

They followed construction for a time then settled in Grand Junction in 1943, when Sheldon began working for the D&RGW Railroad. In 1944, Summers became actively involved in the Girl Scouts. She served as a troop leader and was head of the Western Slope Council for a time. She was affectionately known as "Mike" in the scouting ranks and she stayed involved for nearly 25 years.

Summers began cooking school lunches in 1948 starting at the Columbus School and eventually Grand Junction High, where she was head cook. She retired in 1971.

With her husband retired from the railroad, they spent time fishing and boating until he passed away in July of 1978. She sold the home they had built on Orchard Mesa in 1982, and moved to a condo at Westwood on Horizon Drive, where she resided until her passing. In 1980, she joined Seventh Day Adventist Church in Grand Junction, and soon after took over as director of the Adventist Community Service Center. She served as director until her "second retirement" in 1996. Summers was active in the church including a mission trip in her 80s to Panama.

Summers enjoyed time with her family, playing cards, fishing, walking, crocheting, and quilting. (She was working on her ninetieth quilt.) She was an avid Broncos and Rockies fan. She had traveled many places in the U.S. and the world, including Alaska, Hawaii, Spain, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and the Holy Land. Summers was an active and loving lady and she will be greatly missed.

Summers is survived by her son, Lloyd (Doris) Summers of Lake Oswego, Ore.; son-in-law Forrest Siminoe of Craig; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; a sister, Billie Huff of Claflin, Kan.; brother, Junior (Nin) Elder of Oklahoma; brother, Tom (Alice Rose) Elder of Grand Junction; and sisters-in-law Alma Elder of Denver and Alice Summers of Leoti.

Summers was preceded in death by her husband, daughter, two infant grandchildren, five sisters, three brothers, and eight half-siblings.

At Summers' request, she was cremated and her ashes were interred above her husband at his grave site at Orchard Mesa Cemetery. On Feb. 15, 2004, prior to interment, a family-only graveside service was conducted by Lloyd Summers, followed by a Memorial Service at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Grand Junction.

Opening and closing prayers were by Pastor Ben Barcenas. Music selections were sung by Richard Luke, accompanied by Lannie Luke. Paster John Goley talked about Summers' dedication to the Service Center.

A memorial slide show was narrated by Lloyd Summers.

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