Violet G. Osmun, 89, of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, passed on January 9, 2011 after a brief battle with cancer.
She was born on May 2, 1921 in Mechanicsburg, PA. Vi was graduated from Mechanicsburg High School, and immediately joined the WAVEs, a World War II division of the U.S. Navy which consisted entirely of women. She became an airplane mechanic, training in Jacksonville, Florida, and Norman, Oklahoma.
THE WAVES. The name WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) was both an allusion to ocean waves, as well as an acronym containing the word “emergency,” which implied the acceptance of women in the Navy was due to the unusual circumstances of World War II, and would probably end at the war’s conclusion, says Wikipedia, adding:
An important distinction between the WAVES and the WAACs (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) was that the WAVES were an official part of the U.S. Navy, with its women members holding equal rank, pay and discipline to the men, while the WACCS were only an “auxiliary” organization to the U.S. Army, whose members didn’t hold equal rank to Army men.
WAVES did not serve aboard combat ships or aircraft and, initially, were restricted to duty in the continental United States. Within the first years of the war, the WAVES–including Vi–were 27,000 strong. A large number did clerical work, while others worked in naval aviation, medical and law divisions, communications, intelligence, storekeeping, science and technology.
While Vi was stationed in Jacksonville, she met and married her late husband, Lloyd Norman Osmun Sr., also an airplane mechanic, of Brainards, New Jersey. After both were discharged from the Navy, they lived in Stewartsville, NJ, and later Annandale and Glen Gardner, NJ, before retiring in 1984 to Nazareth.
VARIED INTERESTS. Upon returning home from the Navy, Vi was an active member of the Clinton Baptist Church where she helped with its nursery school. She later worked for Wm. Spann in Clinton as a real estate agent. After moving to Nazareth, she became active in the Grace Bible Fellowship Church, where she contributed to numerous church charities and its mission organizations. A member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), Vi also enjoyed crossword puzzles, baking, hosting friends and family, attending a variety of annual engine shows, and traveling with her husband to Canada and Zimbabwe.
BUTTONS. Vi earned a nickname of the “Buttonlady” since she was an avid clothing button collector. She was a long-time member of the New Jersey State Button Society, the Central Jersey Buttoniers and the Pennsylvania State Button Society. Following visits with her daughter and son-in-law in Harare, Zimbabwe, she returned home with African horn buttons, many carved in animal shapes, as well as English-manufactured Bimini glass buttons, still available in this South African country which was the British Crown Colony of Southern Rhodesia prior to independence being declared in 1980 by Robert Mugabe,
Surviving are four children: Lloyd N Osmun Jr. and his wife Beverly of Bushkill, PA; James Osmun and his wife Sally of Roseland, NJ; Nancy and her husband, the Rev. Douglas Everswick of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Karen Stefancin of Easton, PA. Also 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Vi was preceded in death by her husband Lloyd of 65 years, her stepbrother, Robert E. Peiffer, and stepsister, Dorothy May Peiffer.
A funeral service was held on January 17, 2011 at Grace Bible Fellowship Church in Nazareth, with interment at Lower Harmony Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Grace Bible Fellowship Church, 100 E. Beil Avenue, Nazareth, PA 18064 or to TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission), PO Box 969, Wheaton, IL 60189. TEAM supports the ministry of Nancy and Douglas Everswick in Zimbabwe. (Reference: The Express Times, January 12, 2011)