Verda Tiller

Died: Sun., Oct. 20, 2019

Graveside Service

3:00 PM Fri., Oct. 25, 2019
Location: Burns Cemetery

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Verda Valentine Tiller passed away Sunday, October 20, 2019 at the Aspens Assisted Living Center.
Verda was born on February 14, 1926 in Burns, OR to Charles and Hazel (Mace) Culp. She joined three other siblings at the Culp family ranch; Brothers Pat and Fred (Bud) and sister Myrtle.
Verda’s love for animals was evident at an early age and of course life on the ranch gave her plenty of opportunity to enjoy all of God’s creation.
During her high school years she began dating a fellow named Earl Tiller. They enjoyed one another’s company a great deal and things began to get serious. Earl and Verda both graduated from Burns Union High School in 1943. It was a short time later when something came along that would put the relationship on hold for a time: World War II. Earl was drafted into the Navy and served in the South Pacific as a radio operator on a combat transport ship.
While Verda waited patiently (or maybe not so much) for the conflict to end, she worked part-time jobs, including the local drug store and also the U S Bank, where she was hired as a teller. Finally, the war was over! Earl returned to Harney County and did not waste any time. He proposed, Verda accepted, and they were married November 7, 1946 in Winnemucca, Nevada. Earl described the wedding ceremony this way: “We bought our wedding license, walked into the Justice of the Peace Office and asked the fellow to marry us. He told us we needed a witness to make things legal so I ran outside and yelled at the first people I saw (who were complete strangers) and asked if they would stand up with us.  A few minutes later we were hitched”.
To some folks, their wedding may not sound romantic enough, official enough or religious enough but Earl told that story with pride countless times and it began a legacy of love that lasted over 70 years. God clearly knew what He was doing when he brought these two together.
The years that followed were lean, but happy. While Earl was ranching, farming, working at the local tire shop or whatever it took to make ends meet, Verda was there by his side helping in any way that she could. Eleven years after their marriage, in November of 1957, son Ted was born. A short time later Earl and Verda moved to the property on Hwy 205 which became their home for the next 60 years.
Verda was in heaven on earth. To say that she loved the ranch would be an understatement. Her passions were many: Her cooking, her yard and flowers, watching the PBR (professional bull riders) on television and of course, her beloved animals. Not just your typical pets such as dogs and cats (yes, there were plenty of those), but also the deer which would eat out of her hand and the many birds that she enjoyed (especially quail). Earl had strict orders to make sure that all the bird feeders were kept full and feed be scattered on the ground (particularly during the winter months). Earl would shake his head from side to side and complain under his breath, “With all the money I am spending on bird feed I could buy another ranch”! Up until the time of Earl’s death in 2017, he was still buying bird feed. Then there were the raccoons, which would also eat out of her hand and yes, even skunks, one of which came in the house and sprayed everything in sight, including Earl. The house stunk for months (and so did Earl). There were also the many leppy calves that Verda helped bottle feed, became attached to, and then refused to let Earl take to the sale.

Above all was her devotion to Earl and vice versa.  Very rarely were they ever referred to by others separately. It was always Earl and Verda.
Verda Tiller never had a driver’s license. If she was anywhere away from the ranch, Earl was with her- every step of the way……for 70 years ...and now, reunited again, FOREVER!
Verda was a loving, caring and patient mother. Teddy (as she called him) was always a priority. Whether sitting by his bedside when he was ill or traveling hundreds of miles supporting him during his high school ball games, she was always in his corner. This devotion lasted all the days of her life.
She also loved being a Grandma. Even when feeling poorly during the last months of her life, her face would light up with joy when one of the grandkids would walk into the room. What a blessing they were to her!
Verda was preceded in death by her husband, Earl, parents Charles and Hazel Culp, brothers Pat and Fred Culp and nephews Terry Culp and Gary Christy and niece, Noma Culp Williams.
She is survived by her son Ted, daughter in law Shellie and grandchildren Trace, Cade and Lacie. One sister, Myrtle Christy, niece Patty McDonald and nephews Steven Culp, Mark Christy, Alan Christy and Marvin Christy.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Harney County Save a Stray – P.O. Box 403, Burns, OR    97720.

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