March 20, 1931 — May 13, 2020
LaVonne “Vonnie” Reser, age 89, died peacefully in her sleep at her home on May 13, 2020. She was born March 20, 1931, in Sunnyside, WA to Ralph and Macel Mangis DeBeaumont.
She is survived by her loving husband of 65 years, Yancey; and her children, Linda Reser Gilvey (David) of College Place, Shareen Reser Knowles (Greg), David, Scott, and Todd (Danielle Garbe Reser) all of Walla Walla; seven grandchildren; and her two brothers, Richard DeBeaumont (Mary) of Moses Lake and Daryl DeBeaumont of Walla Walla.
She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother and a dedicated community volunteer and advocate who will be dearly missed.
The DeBeaumont family moved to Walla Walla when Vonnie was in third grade. Shortly after arriving in town, a friend invited her to attend Sunday school at Pioneer United Methodist Church, which she enjoyed and attended Pioneer faithfully throughout her years in Walla Walla.
Vonnie was an excellent student, graduating as salutatorian both of Walla Walla High School class of 1949 and of Washington State College (now Washington State University) class of 1953 as an accounting major. Yancey and LaVonne married in 1954 while he was serving in the U.S. Army and then transferred to Germany.
In addition to being known for her intelligence, Vonnie was also known for her friendliness. Within moments of meeting someone, she would inquire about their lives and get to know them immediately. She and Yancey kept in touch with friends from college, their service in Pakistan, vacationing on Guemes Island, and their years living in Seattle.
After Yancey completed law school and practiced for several years in Seattle, they returned to Walla Walla. She became a successful businesswoman in real estate, independently and later in partnership with her son, Todd.
Vonnie’s involvement in the community started in her youth through her membership in Camp Fire. She cherished those experiences, later becoming a camp counselor and a Camp Fire leader. She enjoyed maintaining friendships and correspondence with her Camp Fire contacts over the years.
The Reser’s son, David, the “world’s happiest man,” has Down syndrome. Vonnie devoted countless hours working with many other parents for the enactment of laws supporting public education for intellectually disabled persons and for living assistance in a home-like atmosphere. The efforts were eventually successful in this state. She was a member and leader of the local parent association called ARC. She devoted much time to raising funds for charities that support research in the causes and prevention of birth defects.
She was a member of PEO Chapter CI and cherished her sisters in her own and other chapters. She was proud that her daughters and granddaughters continue the PEO tradition. She was a charter member of the Walla Walla Valley Lioness Club, which helped raise funds to expand the Pioneer Park Aviary.
Vonnie was a dedicated mother to their five children and an active community volunteer. In addition to all her activities, she found time to attend Scott’s ball games and her grandchildren’s concerts and sports. She always gave first priority to caring for and loving her family.
The family wants to thank Sandra Arreola of Matty’s Home Care, for her skilled, kind, loving in-home care of Vonnie the past 21 months, and Dr. Jon Gardner and staff for professional and compassionate care for Vonnie and the family.
There will not be a celebration of her life at this time. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Vonnie’s memory to Pioneer United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice through Herring-Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA 99362.