Vera Louise Smith Hunter (93) passed away peacefully on April 22nd at her son's home in Fairbanks surrounded by loving family and friends.
Vera was born August 20,1925 to Ray and Elsie Oslin on a farm near Watson, MO. She was the lucky seventh of 14 siblings and was raised and lived in Watson until her marriage to Milo "Mike" C. Smith in 1940. In August 1941, Vera and Mike welcomed a son Jimmie "J.R." Smith.
Drawn by the prospects of work and adventure, the family journeyed up the Alcan Highway in 1950, settling in Fairbanks, where they made their home for 33 years until Mike's passing in 1983. Throughout all those years of marriage Mike's mother, Nora ("Grammie"), lived with the family.
A familiar face to many Fairbanksans, Vera worked for numerous local landmark businesses, including the Co-Op Drug Store, the Budget Shop across from Gordon's on Cushman Street, Alaska Bus Line as a ticket agent, and Montgomery Ward. For 17 years she was employed at The Paint Pot, moving with it from the old Samson Hardware building over to 2nd Avenue, and she throughly enjoyed working with many local artists and home owners who came in to see her for supplies and advice. Eventually she became quite skilled as an artist in her own right, and many of her wonderful paintings were displayed proudly throughout her home.
Vera met her second husband, George Hunter, while bowling at Arctic Bowl. When he asked if he could buy her a cup of coffee, her immediate response was an emphatic no. "But I would take a Diet Coke instead," she allowed. This innocent exchange eventually led to a marriage that lasted many happy years until George passed away in 2015.
During much of this time, Vera and George spent their summers in Fairbanks and wintered in Apache Junction, AZ, traveling back and forth in their motor home. Vera loved to regale family and friends with stories of their many adventures along the way.
She was a feisty, quick-witted woman, wise, funny and fun-loving, who enjoyed going out for a Sunday breakfast, loved a good Diet Coke, and got the most out of a long and interesting life. She will be dearly missed by her son, grandchildren, great grandchildren and countless friends.
Vera was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Elsie Oslin, 11 siblings, first husband Mike Smith, second husband George Hunter, and grandson Dwayne Smith.
She is survived by her two remaining sisters, Faye Wilson and Joyce Rasnic, son Jimmie, stepson John Peters (Deb), grandchildren Lori Smith (Lonnie), Linda Smith, Denise Grahek (Ken), Rod Meyers (Linda), Whitney Meyers, great-grandchildren, Garrett, Lauren, Maura, Weston, Jessica, Trey, Leah and Kade, extended family Laura Rookard (Wyatt and Nick), longtime friends Knute and Lynel Anderson and family, and close friend Marilyn Nigro.
Funeral Services and viewing will be held at Blanchard Family Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 30th at 4:00 p.m. A celebration of Life is planned for a later date.