Lydia Vira Grossen Wood died unexpectedly in Salt Lake City on September 14, 1998, after suffering a cerebral aneurysm the previous day. She was 87 years of age.
Vira was born in Salt Lake City on July 15, 1911. She was the fourth child and second daughter of Louis Edward and Mary jane Cutcliffe Auer Grossen. Her brothers and sister were: Louis Auer, William Edward and Mary Grossen. The family lived at 546 South 800 East. They were members of the Tenth Ward.Vira grew up in Salt Lake City. She attended the Webster Elementary School and the Roosevelt Junior High School. At age fourteen, she found her first job at the Walker Brothers Department Store. She and her beloved elder sister, Mary, sold ladies' hats. They loved their job; their customers loved them. Vira graduated on the honor roll from the LDS High School in 1928 where she was a member of the Debate Team and the the Girl's Glee Club and later graduated from the LDS Business College. During the Great Depression, she began working at U & I Sugar Company. She started in the Traffic
Department, moved on to typing vouchers - her fellow employees designated her the "Voucher Queen" and in 1934, became the secretary to J. Arthur Wood, who was the Auditor.
In 1937, Vira's life underwent a momentous turning point in the aftermath of her sister Mary's untimely death. The two of them had shared a remarkably close and devoted relationship. Mary's fragile health had been of upmost concern to Vira.
Vira married J. Arthur Wood on June 15, 1939, in the Salt Lake Temple, becoming the mother to his three children: Joseph Snow, Franklin Snow and Janis. They had three sons: Stephen
Grossen, Richard Grossen and David Grossen. Vira is survived by : Joseph (Janet), Janis (Glen McKellar), Stephen (Mary Anne), Richard and David (Sharon). She also is survived by twenty-seven grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren.
In 1945, J. Arthur and Vira moved their family to a home at 2063 Hubbard Avenue in Salt Lake City. This home remained their home until 1983. The family was a unique one, including J. Arthur and Vira, Vira's mother and five children from three different marriages.
Vira was a loving daughter, wife and mother. She cared for her aging mother until her mother's death in 1961. She supported her husband not only as he rose through the corporate ranks and eventually became President and General Manager of U & I Sugar Company but also during the period of his declining health until his death in 1983. She cared for her children with tenderness and unselfishness. She encouraged them in all their activities and was always there to listen to and counsel with them as they confronted life's challenges. She loved her grandchildren and had the ability to communicate with all of them. Throughout her life, Vira put the needs and desires of others above her own.
Vira was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and her sister, Mary, served as home missionaries. During her married life, she served in the YWMIA and in the Primary. One of her favorite assignments was as a Cub Scout leader when her youngest son, David, was in the class. Together they took a rigorous five mile hike.
Vira became active in community affairs in the early 1950s when she and her husband helped to organize the Utah Certified Public Accountants. She served as President of the Ladies Auxiliary Group. These activities led to other opportunities. She became a delegate to the Salt Lake Council of Women where she eventually served as President and played an important role in the expansion of the International Peace Gardens. She also became a member of the Days of 47 Queens Committee where she served as Chair. Perhaps Vira's most significant civic accomplishment was the instrumental role she played in galvanizing public support in favor of constructing the Salt Palace. She subsequently served on the Salt Palace Board of Directors and became its first woman President.
Vira devoted a significant amount of time to the American Cancer Society. She first served as a volunteer and later as a full-time employee.
Vira loved to travel. Two of the highlights of her life were a trip to Europe (1964) and a world tour (1969) with her husband and three sons.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on
Saturday, September 19, 1998 at the Monument Park First Ward, 1005 south 2000 East, Salt Lake City. Interment will be in the Salt Lake City
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