Viola Elizabeth Koepke passed away from this life so peacefully while being held in the loving arms of her children and caregivers. She asked that we tell one and all of her great gratitude for her amazing life and for the love of her family, friends, caregivers, students and beloved poodle, Maxi.
Viola was born in Elk City, Oklahoma and she was the only child of Owen and Ruth Walker. In 1934 her family lost their home, farm and produce business in the horrific dust storms in Oklahoma. They arrived in California homeless, jobless and with all of their possessions in their car. They became migrant farm workers and they lived in many different labor camps as they followed the crops in California. Viola later returned to her grandmother in Oklahoma to graduate high school. She then reunited with her parents in Corcoran and graduated from COS. Her family lived in an apartment and their land lady was Marguerite Koepke. When Marguerite met Vi, she knew that she would be the perfect wife for her son Otto. When Otto returned to Corcoran after WWII, Marguerite invited Vi and her family to dinner to meet Otto. This was the meeting of two brilliant minds and Vi married Otto E. Koepke, Jr. on June 22, 1947. They were married for 53 years and their lives were filled with theater, great literature and world travels to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska and Japan-and many family trips to Pismo Beach.
Vi taught in Corcoran schools over 43 years. She absolutely loved teaching and never forgot one of her many students. She began teaching in Corcoran at Dallas School and had a passion for teaching the children of migrant farm workers because of her own history. When Dallas closed, she then taught at Bret Harte, Mark Twain and Fremont school. She graduated from and received her teaching credential from Fresno State.
Vi is survived by her son, Bruce Koepke of Stockton; her two daughters, Theresa Houtman (Joel) of Grass Valley and Christine “Jan” Young (Chuck) of Sacramento. Vi is survived by four grandchildren, Elizabeth Hayashi, Laura McGhee, Scott Creswick and Christine Nutting and eight great-grandchildren. Vi so loved her caregivers Annette, Petra, Joey and Jennifer and her many devoted friends including Kacy, Ann and Elaine.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church in Corcoran in Vi’s name.
The Celebration of Life will be Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the First Methodist Church, 1127 Letts Ave., Corcoran, California 93212 at 10 a.m.