Vera L. Westman died peacefully while sleeping on the early morning of November 5, 2007.
Vera was born at the Seaside Hospital in Crescent City, California on June 21, 1952. She was the first child of Irma and Leroy Norris. To her family and friends Vera was well known as "Bunny." Bunny spent her childhood in Smith River with her loving parents and two younger sisters Laverne and Gail.
Their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were just as close. Vera often told stories of their family outings to the river, rodeos and of the many fishing and hunting memories with her dad. Vera and her sisters hosted several rodeos including Crescent City's first sanctioned rodeo. After Smith River Elementary she attended Del Norte High School and graduated in 1970 with honors. Soon after her graduation, Vera and her best friend Sally took a fun and memorable trip to Hawaii.
She attended Portland Community College in Portland, Ore., and majored in commercial art. At that time she also worked as an optical lab technician. Throughout her time in school, Vera was invited to enter many art shows to show her incredible artwork. She mostly expressed her Native American background and some western influences through her paintings. Vera was proud of her Yurok Klamath heritage.
By 1976, she and her sisters were participating in and hosting rodeos. Bunny was always happy to talk about her barrel racing horses and how well she and her sisters did. Each sister was a member of W.S.I.R.A. and brought the first Native American Rodeo to Crescent City.
In the late 1970s Vera moved to Eureka. She also began work for the United Indian health Service in Trinidad. Spending time in the Humboldt area, Vera came across a young man that caught her eye, that young man was Allen Westman. Little did she know, this was her future husband.
Vera and Allen married in Reno, Nev., in 1988 with a baby boy on the way. She gave birth to Kristopher Brice Westman on May 31, 1988. If Vera and Allen weren't at work they loaded up little Kristopher and enough for a picnic basket and explored the outdoors.
Vera's favorite things to do were going on walks, and driving all over Northern California and Oregon. She loved seeing new areas, animals, and most of all, being with her husband and son. Though Vera had a shy side, it went away quickly; she had an amazing sense of humor.
Anyone that knew Vera knew she loved her 49ers and stayed a faithful fan. Vera also liked collecting interesting rocks and feathers at her favorite place, the river bar, a place of unforgettable memories with her family. She was the only mother that would come home after a long days' work just to see her son's friends and their big muddy trucks or Mustangs blocking the driveway and get a smile on her face. Vera's last day was filled with the things she loved, a best friend, her daily walk on the river with Allen, and watching her 49ers game with her husband and son at her side.
She is survived by best friend and husband, Allen Westman; son Kristopher Westman; sisters Laverne (George), Gail, and Sharon (Richard); aunt Lestie; uncles Ronald and Frank, nephews and nieces Ira (Tara), Jamie, Christina, Ryan, Keith, Neisha, Brett, Casey, and Curtis; in-laws Debbie and Jim Misty; father-in-law Allen Westman Sr.; and best friends Sally, Becky, Pam and many others.
She was preceded in death by parents Irma and Leroy Norris; grandparents Ella and William Norris and Kate and Harry Wilson; aunts Thelma and Elvirna; uncles Norris, Eldred, Stan, Lou, Pete and Leonard; and mother-in-law Ellen Westman.
Funeral Services were held on Monday, Nov. 12, at Paul's Chapel, 1070 H Street, Arcata, at 1 p.m. A reception followed at the Blue Lake Fire Hall. Guests were encouraged to bring a favorite dish and memory of Vera to share. A Graveside Service will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Wilson Family Cemetery, Hwy. 422 South, Chiloquin, Ore., at 1 p.m. Pall bearers are Ira Norris, Brett Auppearly, Casey Auppearly, Curtis Hinds, Chad Cossey, and Nathan Warvi. All are invited to attend and casual dress is welcomed as the family would like you to feel comfortable. Services are under the care of Paul's Chapel of Arcata.