Velda Rhea (Oliver) House – mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend to all – passed away peacefully on Oct. 7. She was born on June 2, 1918 in Mulberry, Ark. to Henry and Willie Oliver. She was 95.
Velda was a graduate of Mulberry High School and during her school years was a member of the “Yellow Jackets,” their state championship winning basketball team, which also consisted of three more Olivers: her sister Mary and two cousins. Outside of school, she, her brother Haskell and two sisters worked on their parents’ farm.
When Velda graduated during the Depression, she moved to Los Angeles to find work. She got a job working for a family as a nanny for their young son. God was smiling on her – her future husband, Les House, lived next door!
They were married in 1940 until Les passed away in 2004 – an impressive 64 years. They bought their first home in Highland Park and moved to La Crescenta in 1959.
Velda worked for the Glendale Unified School District as cafeteria manager in several area schools. She had the ability to cook for hundreds of school children a day while keeping her home freezers always full and ready for friends and family (no matter how many guests) who knew they were always welcome. She was most famous for her lasagna, potato salad and rolled wheat cake.
She knew and treasured the importance of family. She and Les welcomed many relatives with joy and pleasure to stay in their home during “transitional” phases in their lives. Her other joy was her involvement in the La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, a member of the bell choir and working on the Wedding Planning Committee.
Les and Velda spent their retirement years in several locations including Lake Isabella, Kernville, Porterville and finally Clovis. They enjoyed traveling with their friends and with her sister Elba Reid and husband Al.
Velda’s grandchildren were her pride and joy. So much of her new found free time was spent with all four, either at their home or taking them on various vacations, most of which involved camping. Velda and Les not only taught them to fish and cook, but gave them the opportunity to know each other as cousins and instilled in them wonderful values and treasured lifelong memories. She was a very special and patient grandma with a wonderful sense of humor.
She spent the last few years living in La Crescenta (close to her daughter) at Twelve Oaks Lodge, which she loved and considered their kind staff as “extended family.” For that, her family will always be grateful.
Words cannot fully measure the life of Velda and the impact she had on her family, friends and all those who had the good fortune to meet her. She is dearly missed.
Velda is survived by her sister, Elba Reid of Strathmore; son Rod House and wife Jane of Clovis; daughter Gelene Collings and husband Larry of La Crescenta; grandchildren Hayley Collings Dziak and husband Mark of La Cañada; Aimee House Rossini and husband Giuseppe of Ripon; Kacey House Martino and husband Nick of Clovis; and grandson Cory Collings of Montrose. Her great-grandchildren number eight and include Soren, Deacon and Stella Dziak; Severino, Bella and Briana Rossini; and Mason and Cameron Martino.
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held in Porterville on Oct. 23.