Our beloved matriarch, Vesta Emma Rickard Blum, passed away at Orchard Park Assisted Living 16 May 2020 at the age of 99 years. She had a long life, but it still seems too short to us - her goal was 100. She was born in very humble circumstances in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, on 31 Jan 1921, the fourth of eight children of Melvin Edward and Mary Agnes Biggs Rickard. She lost her father when she was very young, and her mother struggled to raise the children in a log cabin. She attended schools in Kevisville, then in 1939 immigrated to the United States where she could have gainful employment with her Aunt Queen Rickard Smith at the Geneva store in Bellingham, WA. In this way, she could help support her family. Her sister Mary and brother Melvin later followed her to Bellingham. She was working at this store when she met a customer, Julius Blum, an emigrant from Austria. They married 12 Aug 1942, after which Julius did a stint in the US Army in WWII, serving as an experienced miner in Panaca, NV and Holden, WA. In 1945 their first child Carol Ann Blum was born in Bellingham, then the next year their son Robert Lane Blum followed. They were devoted parents and later grandparents and great-grandparents. Both are loved and honored by the good family they created - a family that loves one another and their country.
Vesta worked for many years at the Bellingham Hotel and the Yacht Club. Because of this experience she was asked to teach a Dining Room Service Class at Bellingham Technical College, which she did for 12 years. After retirement she volunteered for Bellingham Schools tutoring children in reading and 20 years for the Bellingham Visitors’ Bureau. She served as a president of Norway Hall, honoring her Scandinavian roots. Julius died in 1991, and her companion in her later years was Howard Huntley, also a WWII veteran. Vesta loved crafts, needle work, bowling and traveling. She was always optimistic, fun and outgoing. Her family was most important to her, and she is remembered lovingly by all of her posterity. She is predeceased by her husband Julius Blum, daughter Carol Blum Anderson, 6 siblings and companion Howard Huntley. She is survived by her brother Melvin Rickard, son-in-law Al (Rubi) Anderson, son Robert L (Karen) Blum, grandchildren Aaron (Andrea) Blum, Brian (Dana) Blum, Jared (Rachel) Blum, Heather Blum Jenson (Bruce), Stacey Blum Bennum (Jeff), Scot Anderson and Bret (Jen) Anderson, former daughter-in-law Sylvia Anderson (Steve Crockett) and many great-grandchildren. Vesta’s extended family was numerous.
The family gathered online for a memorial service on Sunday, 17 May 2020, where many fond memories and smiles were shared. Her Cremated Remains will be buried in Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, WA alongside her husband and daughter.
Vesta’s family would like to extend thanks to the wonderful staff at Orchard Park Assisted Living, to Bellingham Hospice and to caregiver Rupinder Kaur for all of their kindnesses. As a family we were blessed by knowing the quality care she was receiving.
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