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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