Meet Violet Vegter

Meet Violet Vegter

Mother of 11 Children, Grandmother of 40 and Great-Grandmother of 41

BY LAVERNE STEVENS

Violet and Henry Vegter started life together in Huron, South Dakota, where their first three children were born. They moved on to Delavan, Wisconsin, where they had eight more children. They were blessed with eight girls and three boys. All were single births.

Violet and Henry worked hard raising the children in a rural farm setting. The children all gained a sense of purpose. Each had chores to do. The older ones helped the younger ones as they all grew into a very close family relationship.

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In 1970, Henry and Violet decided to make a move to Florida. They settled in Winter Haven in Polk County. “Moving to Florida was the wisest move we ever made, “said Violet.

Violet filled their lives with music. “Our family loves music. We have good singers. Carol, Susan and Jerry play the saxophone. Linda plays the piano,” said Violet. The family has attended Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven for many years. They played and sang at church. Violet organized two trios consisting of older children Kathy, Susan, and Linda and younger children Judy, Carol, and Karen. The trios sang in church and for “family music night” at home for their own entertainment. Susan was in Stage Band at Winter Haven High School.

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Traditions have become strong with this family. Daughter Judy Shierling tells about the tradition of celebrating each girl’s 50th birthday in a very special way. They plan a week away together. They go out of state as a group. Food, lodging, and entertainment is paid for the birthday celebrant. They eat out and always try to see a Broadway play wherever they go.

Carol Hopkins remembers, “Mom was a great hostess. She had college buddies come for the weekend. They entertained a lot of guests.”

Karen Dekker remembers Violet staying up late at night to sew their clothes. “Judy and I are 14 months apart and Mom always made us matching outfits. Each Sunday, Mom dressed us up for church and would line us up. Often she took our picture before we left for church.”

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“My oldest daughter, Dianna, and I used to sew together after she became an adult. She sewed for her daughter,” added Violet.

Dianna Marcum said, “Mom would make 20 loaves of bread a week. On those days she would make pizza, or hot dogs rolled up in dough (one of our favorites) and cinnamon rolls with raisins. She also made homemade noodles and we all loved her homemade chicken noodle soup.”

Violet started with 20 pounds of flour in a halfbushel container. She worked ten pounds of flour at a time. All the kids appreciated that aroma of baking bread when they came home from school.

The older children started their own traditions. They would fix a family gift basket at Christmas filled with special goodies the family loved to eat. Karen makes a yearly Calendar. Each month features a family with pictures of yearly happenings.

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I asked Violet, “What advice would you give to young parents of today?” She answered, “Send your children to Christian Schools and Colleges. Make sure they attend and get involved in church.” Violet feels it was much easier raising children during the years her children were growing up than it is in today’s modern world. She feels each child has been a blessing to her. Henry died 8 years ago. Her girls take turns taking care of her so she can live independently in her own home.

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