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Obituary: Verda Mae Philbin

March 25, 1925—May 9, 2019

Verda Mae (Garrard) Philbin, 94, of Twin Falls, Idaho, passed away peacefully at her home on May 9, 2019, with her beloved daughter, Diane by her side.

Her beauty, quick wit, and spunky personality endeared her to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. Verda was the seventh of eight children born to Richard and Mary Clodella (Hill) Garrard. She entered the world on March 25, 1925 in Churchill, Idaho. The family later moved to Declo, where she graduated from high school in 1942. She then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became a real life “Rosie the Riveter,” building ships to supply the World War II effort. She was of small stature, but her farm girl’s work ethic led to a promotion to crew chief. Sailors waiting to be shipped out to the Pacific Theatre were often assigned to work under her supervision. One of these sailors was the dashing James Joseph Philbin from New Jersey. Verda and “Jimmy” were instantly smitten, and a romance that began in worst of times soon became a love story for the ages. They were wed after war’s end in the District of Columbia on April 6, 1946. They lived in the District of Columbia and Missouri before returning to Verda’s home state of Idaho to settle for good. Their greatest joy came to them while in Missouri when their daughter, Diane, was born in 1951. Diane would keep them entertained with her musical and athletic prowess throughout their lives. Cheering loud and proud for Diane as she played softball at Kansas University was a particular delight. Verda became a passionate Kansas Jayhawks fan, and in subsequent years she and Diane loved watching Kansas basketball together on TV.

While living in Twin Falls, Verda earned her nursing assistant certification and enjoyed her work in home health care serving several prominent citizens in the area. She was a good friend to many, took a loving interest in her vast extended family, and could always be counted on for a great conversation and a lot of laughter. She enjoyed music, George Strait and Vince Gill in particular, and she sang for an album made in her youth with her brother and sister. She loved dogs, ice cream, Twinkies, Tiger Woods, watching “Days of our Lives,” and spending time with family.

Verda is survived by her daughter and very best friend Diane Philbin of Jerome, Idaho, and many nieces and nephews throughout the United States. She was preceded in death by her husband James, her mother and father, as well as all seven of her siblings: Melvin, Howard, Willard, and Wayne Garrard, Dorothy Matthews, Luella Judd, and June Mecham.

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Verda’s life at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at the Sweetheart Manor, 217 S Highway 27, Burley, Idaho. In keeping with Verda’s wishes, casual attire and plenty of good memories are requested. A light dinner will be served afterwards.

We would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to all of the angelic caregivers from St. Luke’s Hospice. You became family as you cared for Verda over the last three years, and words will never be enough to express the depth of our gratitude.

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