March 25, 1921 ~ September 7, 2018 (age 97)

Virginia Mae Canerday (nee Ream)

Virginia was born in Sioux City, Iowa on March 25, 1921.  She lived most of her childhood in Metzger, Oregon. She was an “only” child until the age of 14, when her sister Barbara was born on Christmas eve in 1934, a challenge to the spoiled life Virginia had enjoyed.  As a young woman she moved to Bend, Oregon and worked for her father at the General Grocery Company.  In 1943, she met Elbern Reed Canerday (Smiley), who was stationed in Bend with the Army. She was smitten by his good looks and southern charm when he asked if he could “carry her home” from the USO dance.  She declined by the rules, but he was persistent.  They were married on his leave, December 4, 1943, before he was shipped overseas during WWII.  Their son, Reed, was born while Smiley was overseas. Smiley and Virginia moved to Metzger, Oregon and subsequently had a daughter, Linda.  Smiley passed away in 2003.

Virginia lived in Metzger until the age of 85.  She then moved to a retirement community in San Jose, CA to be close to her adult children.  In 2015, she moved to Eagle, Idaho, with her daughter and son-in-law.  She resided in an assisted living facility where she made many friends. Known for her unfiltered comments and teasing, she earned the name of Miss Feisty and was recognized by the Oregon license plate on her walker.  She was still very much mentally alert, caring for herself, and mobile with her walker, but was in assisted living because of her vision difficulties. She enjoyed playing BINGO and cards even after her eyesight was severely compromised by Macular Degeneration. Her favorite card game was “Garbage” which is played one card at a time, enabling her to continue to play until the last week of her life. She also loved to win (and eat) the candy at Bingo.  She was always cheerful, smiling, laughing, and often teasing those she met or knew. In July 2018, she fell and broke her hip.  She continued to show her sense of humor when she arrived at the hospital after falling when she asked. “Where is your dad, Smiley?”  Our reply was, “He is in heaven watching over you.”  Her response was , “Well he’s doing a darn poor job!”  While the hip was surgically repaired, she had several complications that prevented her recovery from the injury. She was elated by the visits of three of her grandchildren (two spouses) and her great grandson during her time in the rehabilitation facility. At the end of August, she returned to her assisted living on hospice and passed away in her apartment, which had been “home” for the past 3 years.

She is survived by her sister, Barbara C. Rynerson, Cary, NC; a son, Elbern Reed Canerday, Jr. (Leslie) San Jose, CA; and her daughter, Linda Canerday McCann (Dennis) Eagle, ID.  Grandchildren: Bryan Canerday, Craig Canerday (Amy), Meghan McCann Hoefs (Noah), Kelsey Reed McCann (Terri), and Christopher Canerday – all of whom called her “Graaaaaaaaaama.”  She had no trouble choosing a favorite granddaughter, Meghan, since she was the only one, but certainly worthy of being a favorite.  Her four grandsons forever vied to be the “favorite.”   She avoided making a choice by saying Bryan was her favorite because he was the first.  Craig was her favorite because he was a so funny.  Kelsey was her favorite because he was born on her birthday.  And Christopher was her favorite because he was her last.  She loved them all equally.

Great grandchildren:  Reese Canerday (Age 6 - daughter of Craig and Amy; Zion Hoefs (Age 4 – son of Meghan and Noah). She delighted in seeing Zion who was able to visit her from Las Vegas on a somewhat regular basis and loved receiving pictures and cards from Reese in Phoenix.  She was also able to Facetime with them regularly. 

She was greatly blessed in Idaho by the friendship and support of Bob and Alasya West, the staff and residents (especially her friend and tablemate, Ila) at Paramount Parks Assisted Living and Memory Care, the St. Luke’s orthopedic ward, Avamere Rehabilitation, and Signature Hospice. We are thankful for the kind and compassionate individuals who cared for her with love and dedication especially during those difficult last months of her life.

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