Verona Mae Hiland
Verona Mae Hiland
  • November 19, 1911 - January 19, 2018
  • Arizona

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Verona Mae (Biskup) Hiland was born on 11/19/1911 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and returned to her maker on 1/19/2018 in Sun City, Arizona.
She was born at home, in a house with kerosene lamps and without indoor plumbing. The house was outside of town limits when it was built, and they had a small farm/large garden where they raised a lot of their own food, and had some geese and chickens.
Her school class made beeswax candles for soldiers during WWI. She survived the 1918 Spanish flu (and never contracted another case of flu again).
She took the streetcar into town on a Friday night so her dad could pick up his paycheck and they all went to the Nickelodeon. She loved Mary Pickford.
She worked at the candy counter of the drugstore, and as a "number please-thank you" telephone operator, being shuffled from city to city during the Great Depression as dial telephone service gradually made her job disappear. She was required to quit when she married the love of her life, Andrew Hiland.
She raised Douglas and Steven with help from both of their parents and siblings, all of whom lived within blocks of each other.
She worked with Andrew in the drugstore they owned for five years, juggling the store and parenting, until it was clear she needed to spend more time at home.
They had a boat and spent glorious days on the river, water skiing and spending time with a regular group of friends.
Though she only got as far as high school, her husband and sons were the first in their families to acquire college degrees.
She had a fantastic swimming career, learning to swim at age 40 and becoming not only a swim instructor, but a synchronized swimmer on a team that won AAAA awards, securing the team a spot in the Swimming Hall of Fame Hall of Honorees.
She brought her swimming career with her into retirement, invigorating the Sun City Swim Club and helping swimmers achieve the fifty-mile swim Red Cross certification. She also developed her own Aquarobics program, the first of its kind in that area, possibly the first anywhere. That same program was used long after she quit teaching, to the point she had to enforce her Copyright to make them stop. She also wrote a swimming instruction guide to help teach the different strokes.
She worked out in the gym long into retirement, doing headstands well into her 80s and using the equipment well into her 90s and later. Exercise, diet, and supplements were the majority of her medicine for decades. She could tell you the healing properties of just about anything.
She lived at home by herself until age 100. She started having caregivers come in to help and clean around age 94. She received both food and companionship from Meals on Wheels, and she treasured her friendships with some of her caregivers long after they stopped working for her.
At age 97 she wrote the family history and with help from her family published it as a book.
She is survived by her sons Douglas (Janet) and Steven (Rosemary), four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at 2pm on Friday, January 26th in the Garden of Prayer, Sunland Memorial Park.