When asked to what she attributed her long life, mother would always say, "I laugh a lot!" And, indeed she did. However, in recent years her laugh became more of a sweet smile with her clear blue eyes sparkling. At 94 years old, Lillian Lucy Schoby Vertner closed those beautiful eyes for the last time Saturday, June 8, 2013, at Woodlands Care Center. She leaves us to join her husband, Earl Vertner, (1978) and three sons, Walter, (1970), Howard, (1965) and Jeffery, (2003), all of Cape Coral.
She is survived by her three daughters, Donna Honig (Jim) of Merritt Island, Fla., Brenda Robinson (Russ) of Gainesville, Fla., and Joanne Freeman of St. Petersburg, Fla.; three grandchildren, Paige Simonson (Ron) of Panama City, Fla., and Doha, Qatar; Kevin Mahaney of Orlando, Fla., and Walter Vertner, (Sherrie) of Longwood, Fla.; four step-grandchildren, Ruth Honig Evans (Michael) of Santa Clarita, Calif., David Honig (Robyn) of Carmel, Ind., Susan Honig of Merritt Island, Fla., and Brittany Robinson of Ferrum, Va.; and two step-great-grandchildren, Joshua Honig and Ari Honig.
Born in Groveport, Ohio, she was the daughter of Harry and Annie Jackson Schoby of Plain City, Ohio, a quaint, rural American town outside of Columbus. Here, when we children visited our grandparents, we marveled at the ever flowing water fountains on the downtown street corners, the soda shops where you could get a real chocolate malt and the hitching posts for the Amish horse and buggies. A graduate of Plain City High School, class of 1936, she was a member of the varsity girls basketball team from 1932 - 1936. She was a standard bearer in the First Methodist Church throughout her childhood. She met the handsome Earl Vertner at a county fair, was swept off her feet, and they married two years later.
Lillian Lucy Schoby Vertner
While Dad always said he would like an even dozen children (we never learned what he might have had in mind for such a large family), they settled for half a dozen. Early married life was spent in her Dad's own back yard, literally. They lived with his parents on their farm outside of Plain City, until Dad bought a large residential lot in town and built a unique two-story home made of granite blocks from the re-paved streets of Columbus. Five children and fourteen years later, opportunity knocked in the interstate trucking business in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they lived until moving to the sunshine of Cape Coral in 1960, now with six children. They were among the first 25 families to settle in that "waterfront wonderland," which now boasts over 200,000 residents. She was always a devoted mother, completely involved in her children's many activities including music and dance lessons, scouting, band, school committees and church events. It was her love of reading and music that exposed her children at very early ages to these life long abiding interests. She also loved saltwater fishing, or maybe it was just the time she was able to spend with Dad on their boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
She was a charter member of the Cape Coral VFW Auxiliary, and was active for many years in the Sewing Club, creating lap robes for veterans at Bay Pines Hospital in Tampa. She was also a charter member of many local organizations including the Cape Coral Fishing Club, the Cape Coral Golf and Country Club and the North Fort Myers Jr./Sr. High School Band Boosters. She was a Pink Lady volunteer at Lee Memorial Hospital for five years. From 1966 to 1978, she worked as the Cape Coral office manager for her husband's trucking and heavy equipment company.
In her retirement years, she loved her morning crossword puzzles, finished even before breakfast, and her evening bingo and domino games, her long walks and her workouts with her hand weights, and on the stationary bike. She was a voracious reader, devouring historical fiction, biographies, mysteries, and period novels at a torrid pace. Most of all she loved music, and enjoyed the background sounds of music from the 1940s in her condominium through out the day. She kept in close touch with family and friends by e-mail into her late 80s. She maintained her perfect driving record behind the wheel for 70 years. After moving to Gainesville in 2011, she remained active in daily exercise programs and residential activities at Harbor Chase Assisted Living Facility. She never lost her life-long love of music and reading.
Her family wishes to thank the staff of Harbor Chase Assisted Living, Woodlands Care Center, and Haven Hospice of Gainesville for providing extraordinary care and comfort.
Visitation will be held at Milam Funeral Home, Thursday, from 57 p.m.
There will be a graveside service at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at Fort Myers Memorial Gardens in Fort Myers. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Haven Hospice, 4200 N.W. 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606; the Friends of the Library, 430 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL, 32601; Friends of Music, School of Music, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; or the charity of your choice.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Milam Funeral and Cremation Services, 311 South Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361