Lives Lived: Alvina Ingram (sponsored obituary) |

Lives Lived: Alvina Ingram (sponsored obituary)

Alvina “Venie” Ingram, who moved to Grass Valley from Idaho in the rumble

seat of a Model A in 1936, raised a family and established

herself as an activist in children’s and community affairs, died

Monday March 1st, 2010, at age 91.

Mrs. Ingram, widow of Merris T. Ingram of Grass Valley, passed on at

Golden Empire Convalescent Hospital, where she had been a resident

since July of 2008. A graveside service will be private. Plans are

pending for a celebration of her life.

Cheerful, popular and selfless, Mrs. Ingram was well known for her

activism on behalf of children as the long time director

of the venerable Tall Pines Nursery School, member of the Nevada County Child

Abuse Council and volunteer for UNICEF, scouting and other community organizations. In recent

years, she was a strong supporter of the Manzanita Center for needy


As the Tall Pines director for 12 years, she was well known to generations of Grass Valley residents, some of whom grew up to enroll their own children in the cooperative nursery school. She also was honored by Soroptimist International of Grass Valley for community service.

But her favorite activity was cooking for family and friends and

anonymously preparing and delivering meals to elderly shut-ins. Her

signature dish was the authentic Cornish pasty, whose Old School

flavors she tirelessly improved by a variety of experiments that few

Cousin Jennies would dare have tried.

Until a severe fall in her yard caused her hospitalization, Mrs. Ingram lived alone at the family home,

drove her car, cooked her own meals, did her own shopping and house

keeping and tended to an expansive yard and gardens. She was a dedicated reader of books and subscribed to three national news magazines simultaneously.

Venie Ingram was born in Kellogg, Idaho, Aug. 24, 1918, the daughter

of Swedish immigrants, Erik and Amanda Beck. As a youngster during the

Great Depression, she helped to support the family by selling apples

on street corners with her brothers, Al and Len, who preceded her in


At 17 and newly graduated from high school, she fled economically

distressed northern Idaho in the rumble seat of a Ford coupe and settled in Grass Valley, where she found work as a waitress at the old Blue Bird Fountain on Mill Street. At a wrestling match, she met a sports reporter/printer for the Grass Valley Morning Union named Merris Ingram. They married Nov. 4, 1938.

Soon thereafter, they moved into a home on Alta Hill, whose purchase price was $4,000. However, they had only $3,700. The builder let them have it anyway.

Mrs. Ingram is survived by sons Carl of Sacramento and Erik of

Petaluma and daughter and son-in-law Kristen and Greg Ludlum of Nevada

City. She is also survived by grandchildren Bret, Kirk, Aaron of

Sacramento and Evan Ingram of New Orleans; Dr. Drew Ingram of

Sacramento and Joy Horn of Novato; great grandchildren Cali, Cole and Peyton; niece Alvina Marie Hill of Idaho; and nephews Roger and Clayton Beck of Washington state, Richard of Bakersfield, and Kenneth and Michael of Idaho. She was preceded in death by a toddler daughter, Karen Bette.

During her stay at Golden Empire Convalescent Hospital, Venie Ingram was very fond of the nursing staff. Her family deeply appreciates the superb and loving care these world class professionals provided in the final 20 months of her life.

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