Viola Ruth (Gates) Nott, 74, previously of Topeka and Ozawkie passed away September 22, 2018.
Viola was born August 28, 1944 in Iola, Kansas, the daughter of Dwight Leonard and Ruth Bebee (Colwell) Gates.
She attended grade school at Golden Prairie a one room school house. Attended high school at both Moran High and Iola High, graduating from the latter in 1962. Received her BSN in 1984 from Washburn University and worked as a nurse, eventually retiring from Stormont-Vail Hospital.
She is survived by her daughters, Michele (Reese) Slawson, Des Moines, IA, Melaine Reese, Sulphur Springs, TX; a sister, Bessie Belle (Gates) Grimsley, Americus, KS.
She was preceded in death by two brothers, Kenneth Carroll Gates, Phillip Rollin Gates.
Remembrances of Vi from her sister Belle Grimsley:
When Vi was a toddler, around 2 ½ years of age, she picked all the buds off the narcissus flowers and proudly brought them to Mom. Mom chastised Vi for picking them too soon, but Vi said “I can make them ‘boom’, I can make them ‘boom’!” Mom couldn’t sleep from laughing.
Vi always enjoyed quilting, crocheting, knitting and embroidery. She was quite talented along that line. Painting was another activity she enjoyed and at which she was quite accomplished. Vi liked to try new recipes and was always on the lookout for savory ones to try. Reading, especially mystery books, in her spare time was also a hobby and a time fulfilling activity. She was also a member of Eastern Star and the Women’s Kansas Day Club.
Since Vi grew up on a dairy farm, one year she was selected the Allen County Dairy Princess when she was in high school. Vi worked as a nurse’s aide during her high school years and later she graduated with a BSN from Washburn University.
Remembrances of Vi from her daughter Michele (Reese) Slawson:
My Mom loved to be creative. Music was something she cherished and she loved to sing and play the piano. She was a member of our church choir at the United Methodist Church in Ozawkie. She had a long time dream of joining the Sweet Adelines, but unfortunately never had the opportunity to be part of the singing group. Really any art or craft was fair game for her. She even created a puppet stage and puppets for us to play with.
She was an active participant in all my childhood activities. She headed up a Campfire Girls group for Oskaloosa so that my friends and I could have that experience. She lead bible school classes, church youth group activities, baked treats for school and made sure I had piano lessons from the loveliest teachers in our small community.
Mom loved her pets. Her last two dogs were Daisy Mae (re-homed) and Bobby Jo (deceased). She loved them fiercely and they were happily spoiled dogs. She had a variety of pets over her lifetime and even had some birds that were certified for pet therapy.
Mom valued education and went back to college to complete her BSN at Washburn University when I was in junior high. She worked very hard to complete her degree and it meant the world to her to be able to provide nursing care. She was particularly focused on caring for the elderly. She retired from nursing at Stormont-Vail.
Remembrances of Vi from her daughter Melaine Reese:
Mom loved the arts – music, theater and painting. She had an extensive record collection and she made sure Michele and I enjoyed the sound tracks to musicals like “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Hello Dolly”. She also made it a point for us to watch “The Sound of Music” whenever it came on TV.
She encouraged us to learn about music and play instruments. I loved to sit beside her while she played piano. She also enjoyed sewing. She made dolls and doll clothes for us as well as clothes for us to wear. I was never so grateful that she could sew as when I was about 3 years old and my favorite teddy bear’s head fell off and rolled across the floor. I cried my eyes out while Michele laughed. Mom successfully re-attached his head – luckily!
She always wanted to be a nurse. She worked for Dr. Robert Snook in McLouth, KS and sometimes I would spend time at the office with her. I would stay in the back area/breakroom. Dr. Snook had anatomical models and the one of the head/brain scared me so she brought it home to show me it wasn’t anything to be afraid of and sat it on the dining room table.
She went back to school when I was in second grade to get her BSN. I remember she would practice her health assessments on me and Michele. I would sometimes go with her during her summer classes. I remember hanging out with Michele and drawing on the chalk boards in Stoffer Science Hall while she was in chemistry class. She finished her degree in 1984 a few months before she turned 40 and it was one of the proudest moments of her life.
She started her nursing career at Presbyterian Manor in Topeka. Her interest was always caring for the elderly and also in geropsychiatry. She left Presbyterian Manor to work at Memorial Hospital at their then new Senior Diagnostic Unit. When Memorial Hospital closed, that unit moved to Stormont-Vail and was later acquired by The Menninger Clinic. She served as evening charge nurse there for many years.
She insisted Michele and I go to college to be able to be independent and to support ourselves. We both graduated from Washburn University and have certainly shown a strong sense of independence. But she was always there to help us along the way.
Memorial services are being planned for spring 2019. Memorial donations may be made to Washburn University Alumni Association for benefit of the School of Nursing Fund for Excellence at www.wualumni.org.
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