Aberdeen, SD-Funeral service for Cleo Niva, 93, of Aberdeen will be 10:00 am, Saturday, November 24, 2018 at Carlsen Funeral Home and Crematory in Aberdeen. Rev. Timothy Adams and Rev. Ginny Adams will officiate.
Inurnment will be in Riverside Cemetery at a later date.
There will be visitation Friday from 4:00-7:00 pm at the funeral home.
Cleo Niva, a true daughter of the SD prairies, passed away peacefully and unexpectedly at her home in Aberdeen, SD, two days short of her 94th birthday. Cleo was an exemplary woman, an intelligent, strong, hardworking, multi-talented, well-read person who passed her values on to her children.
Cleo was born to Gordon Muir Vaughan and Olivia Ford Vaughan. They lived near Barnard, SD on the original Vaughan homestead. She attended Barnard High School and briefly attended Northern State before leaving to help her family run the mercantile store in the town of Barnard.
She persevered through the depression. During WWII she helped serve pheasant sandwiches for troops at the Aberdeen depot. As a young woman she helped her family at home rather than attend college. She saw the world change from horse and buggy to the internet and savored the experience, evolving with the times.
In 1949 she married Henry Niva of Frederick. They returned to her family homestead to farm in the 1950s, and raised two children, Gordon and Sonya.
In 1977 Cleo and Henry divorced, and she went to work at the Alexander Mitchell Library as a library technician. After her retirement, she continued to live in Aberdeen. She had a passion for flower gardening and each summer her backyard had a vibrant classic English garden. She enjoyed live theatre, and performed in several local plays, including “Annie Get Your Gun.” She enjoyed going to church and charity luncheons and continued her love of literature by utilizing a Kindle. She also wrote short stories and poetry to be enjoyed with her family.
Cleo enjoyed travel. She traveled in the US, starting as a young woman. She spent one summer in California working as a ‘board girl’ at a brokerage firm. She was able to travel to the UK in 2000 and trace her ancestral roots to a small Welsh village where she located the family headstones.
Cleo is survived by her sister, Florence Vaughan Schnitzel (Edward Schnitzel), son Gordon Niva (Susan Lahr), daughter Sonya Niva Rieger (Larry Rieger), many cousins, two nieces, many grand-nieces, great grand-nieces and nephews, and one great great grand-niece. She was preceded in death by her parents.
In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorials to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, PO Box 5000, Vermillion, SD 57069.
Carlsen Funeral Home and Crematory of Aberdeen has been entrusted with arrangements.