Verla Pearl was born on April 7, 1918 to Newt and Fidelia Estes of Douglas County, Missouri. She passed away on September 15, 2010 in Cabool, Missouri, after a long, happy life filled with family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard; her parents, Newt and Fidelia; three sisters, Loetta, Gordith and Trilby; her brothers, Vol, Everett, Cleon; two infant brothers,; and one son-in-law, Allen Baker.
She is survived by her children, Ron and Judy Wood, Judi and David Rogers, and Patsy and Danny Graven; her grandchildren, Rodney and Stephanie Wood, Monte and Rebecca Wood, Brad and Jackie Baker, Jonnathan Graven, Dana and Brent Courter, Jennifer and Chris Sterner, and Jared Graven; her great-grandchildren, Trevor and Angie Baker, Telika Baker, Scotty and Marcus Wood, Halyn, Logan, and Ashlin Sterner, Ainsley Wood, Tatum Watson, and Brady and Sophia Courter, her great-great grandchildren, Gracie and Trooper Baker; her step grandchildren, Eric and Michelle Rogers and Aimee and B.J. Caldwell; her step great-grandchildren, Randie and Kallie Rogers, Abigaile Caldwell, Derek Palmer, and Racheal Smith; and her step great-great grandson, Evan Palmer. She is also survived and remembered by a great number of nieces, nephews, and cousins whom she dearly loved.
Verla spent much of her childhood caring for the home and babysitting her nieces and nephews. Her father owned saw mills, and her mother raised her family and worked as a home nurse to many around the community.
She was saved and baptized as a teenager and was an active member of Mt. Ararat Missionary Baptist Church all her life, teaching Sunday school and greeting members with a smile. In the last two years of her life, she also visited Cabool Christian Church.
After spending her early years in a small country schoolhouse, she attended Mountain Grove High School, where she played basketball, made lifelong friends, and graduated in 1938. She worked in a tomato cannery and picked blackberries to pay for her tuition to attend Southwest Baptist University, where she received her teaching certificate, thus beginning her beloved career of education. After raising her family, she attended Southwest Missouri State Teachers College and received her master’s degree from Drury University. She taught in several country schools, including Vanzant, a one-room school where she was the last teacher before it closed its doors. She then taught at Skyline before moving to Cabool Elementary, where she taught first grade until she retired at the age of 70. Not ready to give up her love for teaching, she was a substitute and volunteer until the age of 89.
At her sixteenth birthday party, Verla met a very tall, handsome young man named Richard “Cap” Wood. Although she noticed him, she did not see him again until much later at a community picnic where his cousin, Junior Smallwood, claiming he had too many girlfriends, sold Verla to him as a date for 25 cents. Richard would agree it was the best 25 cents he ever spent. On February 13, 1943, Richard and Verla were united in marriage and spent their life raising children on a dairy farm in Douglas County, Missouri.
If you were lucky enough to stop by Mt. Ararat Ridge and find her home, you would be invited to “sit a spell” under the carport or ushered inside to sample what had just come out of the oven, perhaps cookies or a slice of coconut cream pie. Verla’s smile welcomed everyone she met, friend or stranger, and that smile brightened even more when it was a child. She loved them all and they loved her in return.
Each morning, Verla started her day by reciting her favorite scripture to everyone she met, Psalms 118: 24: “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Let this verse always be remembered as a testimony to Verla Pearl Wood.
Services were at 2:00 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2010, at Cabool Christian Church with Bro. Bob Martin officiating. Pallbearers were Rodney Wood, Monte Wood, Brad Baker, Brent Courter, Chris Sterner and Trevor Baker. Honorary pallbearers were Jonnathan Graven, Jared Graven, Eric Rogers, B.J. Caldwell, Tom Alsup, Dain Smith, Doc Estes and Norman Estes. Interment was in Mt. Ararat Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool.
Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.