BEND, Oregon — Former Missoula resident Vervian Claire Stephenson died on June 3, 2019, at Awbrey Place Assisted Living in Bend, Oregon.
Vervian was born in Enterprise, Oregon, to Claire and Hobart Gritton on Nov. 1, 1923. She graduated from Enterprise High School and then attended Kinman Business University in Spokane, Washington. In 1944, she married Max Hayes of Joseph, Oregon. She worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Joseph and Enterprise until the family moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1954. Vervian then worked for the USFS in Alaska and later for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
In 1976, the family moved to Friday Harbor, Washington. After the death of her first husband, Max, she married James R. “Bits” Stephenson of Missoula in 1987. James passed in 2013, after which she remained in Missoula until the spring of 2017; she then moved to Bend, Oregon, and resided at the Stone Lodge Retirement Community until early 2019, when she moved to Awbrey Place.
Vervian enjoyed fishing and plying the waters of southeast Alaska while living in Juneau. After relocating to Friday Harbor, she became interested in the art of rug hooking; she created many beautiful rugs and was heavily involved in the rug hooking community of both Oregon and Montana. After moving to Missoula, she and Bits spent time at Flathead Lake, RVing in their camper, and snowmobiling.
She is survived by her three sons; R. Tim and wife Bonnie Hayes, son Allyn and wife Diane Hayes, and Kenneth and wife Sandra Hayes; stepson Bruce and wife Nancy Stephenson; stepdaughter Ann and husband Don Zomerfeld; stepson William and Amy Stephenson; as well as eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
There will be a private memorial service for the family in the Joseph, Oregon area at a later date. Memorials may be sent to the First United Methodist Church at 300 E. Main St., Missoula, MT, 59802, or alternatively to the Talking Book and Braille Library, State Library of Oregon, 250 Winter St. N.E, Salem, OR, 97301. Baird Funeral Home of Bend, Oregon, is handling arrangements.