June 24, 2013
Longtime Nevada County resident Viola Vivian Boroughs died at home on May 17, 2013, with family by her side. She was 88. Vivian, as she was known to family and friends, was born to
Frank and Bessie Viola Thorne in Artesia, Calif., on Dec. 18, 1924. She graduated from Selma Union High School in Selma, Calif., in 1942 and then moved with her family to the Bay
Area. Fresh out of high school and still in her teens, Vivian was employed by the Navy to handle secret supply orders for American forces fighting in the Pacific during World War II. Her
parents believed she was a file clerk and didn’t learn the top secret nature of her real work until many years later.
After the war, Vivian moved to San Diego and continued working for the Navy. By the late 1950s she resided in Fallon, Nev., then later in Sparks, Nev., until she moved to Grass Valley in 1961.
Shortly after that, she bought property in Penn Valley and began building the home she named Happy Valley.
In 1970 Vivian married Grass Valley resident Robert E. Boroughs. Bob and Vivian called Happy Valley home, raising farm animals and gardens. When Bob died in 2006, Vivian continued to live there alone.
She was a bookkeeper all her working life and ran her own business until 10 years ago. It wasn’t unusual for her clients to receive fresh eggs from her farm along with their bookkeeping reports.
Vivian was a part of Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation. Her values were framed by The Great Depression and WWII, and her life exemplified hard work and independence. She was a quietly reliable
friend to the local community and during her decades-long residency anonymously supported needy local people and causes with her modest resources. She made arrangements to donate the
contents of her household to local charities after her death.
In addition to her parents and husband she was predeceased by her sister, Frances Deglman, and an infant brother, Franklin. She had no children. She is survived by nieces Vernell
Cocanour of Carson City, Nev., and Jeanne Lynn Miller of Springfield, Ore.; and nephew Gary Cocanour of Euless, Texas. Vivian is also survived by great nieces Danell Fanning, Robin Travis,
Yvette Fletcher and Francette Cocanour; and great nephews Mitch Fanning and Dan Cocanour. In addition, she is survived by an abundance of people she called her friends and her much loved dog
and cat, Bonnie and Bug.
In accordance with Vivian’s wishes, there was no funeral. In the last months of her life, a great many people came together to support Vivian’s desire to remain in her beloved home.
In her last days, Vivian said she felt blessed by the collective effort that led to granting her wish. The family is especially appreciative to all those individuals, with special thanks to Hospice of the Foothills.
Her final resting place is in New Elm Ridge Cemetery beside her husband, Bob.