Vera Vass 1920 – 2010
From the Parish News – August 2010
The service to celebrate the life of Vera Vass was held on 14th July. Vera lived a very full life, she was very happily married for 54 years to Maurice, had 3 wonderful daughters Wendy, Liz and Susan, 2 granddaughters Emma and Katie, and 4 great grandchildren. Vera was fully involved in her local community wherever she lived, packing an enormous amount into her 90 years.
Vera was born Vera Dove in 1920 in East Ham, London, proudly proclaiming herself Cockney, being born within the sound of Bow bells. Vera was the middle sister of 3 with a younger brother who survives her. The family moved to Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and later to Farnborough, Hampshire. Vera was very athletic and excelled at sport, a love shared by Maurice who Vera met and married while at Farnborough and it was here that they set up their first home. Maurice, an accountant, and Vera were soon celebrating the birth of Wendy, and, having now moved to Reading, Liz was born.
Their lives changed direction when Maurice joined the RAF, soon earning his wings. Maurice, Vera and the girls moved to Cowes on the Isle of Wight where Vera's parents now lived and Susan arrived soon after. Another change was to follow when Maurice left the RAF for the Army. Vera, uncomplaining and staunchly supporting her husband, had to cope with uprooting the family and going with Maurice to Malaya where they stayed for three and a half years.
Returning home to the Isle of Wight Maurice's career remained in the UK until his posting to Korea. Families were not allowed in this war-ravaged country so Vera remained with the girls on the IOW where the girls were by now at school. Maurice was sent to Hong Kong next; this time Vera and the girls, now aged 14, 11 and 9 went too. Vera played a full part in the service community and also taught English to local Chinese children. Life here was carefree and idyllic with sailing and swimming favourite pastimes.
Maurice, now a Major, was posted to Germany and went with Vera, Liz and Susan; Wendy having returned to the UK to college. Vera was the perfect wife, loving to entertain at dinner parties or official functions. Vera was an excellent cook and a superb hostess, but still found time to be a wonderful mother too. Maurice loved sport and family holidays reflected this, whether skiing in Austria or visiting Monaco to take in the motor racing.
Maurice, now a lieutenant colonel, was posted home and the family settled near Wimbledon. Maurice took early retirement from the army and Susan got married during this time. When Vera asked Susan "don't you think you're a little young darling?" Susan replied "well you were only 19 yourself mum!"
Maurice and Vera moved to Wiltshire where Maurice became a Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and Vera opened a china and glass shop with a close friend. They had a great time buying stock for the shop. Susan now had 2 daughters, Emma and Katie, and Vera now became 'Nanny' by family tradition. The girls have fond memories of Nanny, remembering her as a very proud lady, immaculately dressed, who was adored by 'Pop-pop' (Emma and Katie's name for Maurice), but who was definitely the 'boss'! Vera always had a great sense of good manners and of speaking correctly, something she instilled in her daughters and granddaughters.
The girls remember Nanny's secret drawer where she kept Smarties and Milky Bars, and the empty scent bottles she saved for them. Nanny Vera loved routine; stays with her included library visits and they always listened to the one o'clock news. The family loved Vera's puddings but when her daughters one day turned their noses up at bread and butter pudding Vera promptly fed it to Robbie the boxer, the family pet. This pudding now became dog's pudding and the girls never refused it again!
When Maurice retired he and Vera moved to Denton to be near Wendy and her husband Angus McGill. Vera loved animals and adored dogs in particular. When the girls visited their dogs were always welcome, and when Angus became ill Vera naturally adopted his dog Shelley with whom she developed a tremendous bond.
Vera was a regular church goer and her faith helped her when Maurice passed away. Vera remained active locally and was a regular keen helper with Harleston WI market where she made many friends. Vera always helped at the village fete, assisting Stephen Easton selling raffle tickets, when she loved talking to everyone.Sadly Vera was to lose Wendy and more recently Sue, but she coped extremely well. Vera had a strong sense of family and, with her superb sense of humour to the fore; she always supported Maurice and the girls. Vera was by now a great-grandmother (Nanny - great) and great she was indeed. Encouraged by Liz, Vera attained her 90th birthday; what a wonderful milestone achieved by a lovely lady.