Obituary of Ivy Dolores Phelan
A resident of Grass Valley for many years IVY DOLORES PHELAN died on June 6, 2018 at the age of 98. Ivy lived with her daughter Patricia Minor and grandson Isaiah for the past 10 years and passed away at home, her daughters Pat and Marla caring for her, with the help of Sutter Hospice Care, who were wonderful. A special thanks to the boys who visited and befriended Mom and took time for an old woman, Sam Skidmore, unfailingly kind, Cory Cipriano who told me stories about Mom and Kiernan Beale, who helped me care for Mom in her last days.
Ivy was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Nevada County native, Mr. James Connor Phelan on November 2, 1996 at age 88. Mr Phelan logged the Sierra Nevada with horse and chain, and had many stories of the history of Nevada County. Also preceded in death by her exceptional grandson, Ryan Earl Hanson of Grants Pass OR on June 18, 2013, who is survived by his wife Angela Hanson and Ivy’s great granddaughter Miss. Alexandra Hanson of Gold Hill, OR.
Born in New Mexico on June 23, 1919, to Jessie James and Elma Sipes Brewer. Ivy was orphaned as a toddler and raised by her Aunt Bessie Worthington along with her five cousins Kenneth, Ray, Marvin, Wilma and little JD, who died of heart disease as a child and whom mom cared for and loved very much. A thin, waif of a child living through the Great Depression Ivy survived childhood hunger, homelessness and the bad gas tent cities of the West Texas Oil Fields, where the well managers vented the natural gas off the wells—sinking in a poisonous effluvium over the tent city making everyone ill. Water was purchased from tanks brought in on wagons, but many people contracted Cholera anyway.
Mr. Virgil Duncan Worthington was an itinerant worker, so when the family had no money and no food, Bessie would put all the children in an orphanage which Mom described as some of the happiest times of her early life because ‘I was treated like everyone else’. At home she was another mouth to feed, always last to get her portion of anything. Ivy told of one occasion when her Aunt sent her to get a bag of oranges for her cousin (Bessie’s only Daughter) Wilma. On the way home she couldn’t help herself and gobbled one of the oranges, Her Aunt was very angry and demanded if she had eaten one of the oranges, with pulp and juices all down her front, she looked her Aunt in the eye and said “No Auntie, I didn’t eat an orange”. Mrs. Worthington was so surprised at her lie that no punishment was administered!
On another occasion, living in a husk of a railroad line shack, a ball of lightening entered the front room where Bessie and all the children were sitting, traveled all the way around the 4 walls and back out the front door without injuring anyone! Bessie finally moved to Phoenix with the children where she received a family stipend from the State. Aunt Bessie would send Ivy to ask the Governor for help with their benefit payments, The Honorable Mr. George W. P Hunt, a great humanitarian who championed such causes as mandatory education for children, restricting child labor, lobbying and usury, workers compensation, old age pensions and women’s suffrage. She spoke of his kindness her entire life.
Ivy is survived by her children, Mrs. Shirley Francis Dunning and husband Lynn of Bandon OR, Mr. Ted Minor and wife Christine, of Three Forks MT, Miss Marla Louise Estelle Minor of Concord CA. and Miss Patricia Jean Minor of Novato, CA. and many grand children and great grand children.
Thank you Mother, had you failed at any juncture of your fragile childhood none of us would be here today. May God Bless and Carry you in His bosom. See you on the other side. Ivy Dolores Phelan
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