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Reflection Of Life
Laverne (Wilder) Toliver was born July 4, 1929 and was the 4th of 6 children of the late Lonnie and Minnie Wilder. Her birthplace was Wilmot, Arkansas. Her parents and 5 siblings; Lonnie Wilder, Otis Wilder, Ester Mae (Wilder) Denton, Mae Belle (Wilder) Hugley and Helen Wilder all preceded Laverne in death. She grew up in a Christian home. The family attended Shady Grove AME in Wilmot, Arkansas. Sundays were a big day and the entire family went to church if weather allowed since they walked as they did not own a car. Laverne would always say “if daddy’s favorite song was being sang and they were not sitting down the children knew they would be in trouble”. At an early age she accepted Christ as her savior. She attended Wilmot Public Schools rain or shine. She walked to school every day since there were no school buses. Laverne left Wilmot in 1957 and moved to SW Portland, Oregon with her five children, looking for employment opportunities. She was versatile in her skills performing domestic work and worked for American Linen Company. She was fortunate to work as a surgical aide for the County Hospital now known as OHSU for 22 years where she retired. She had amazing sewing skills. She would always make special occasion dresses for her 5 daughters and herself. She loved to dress and was happy when she got her first retail credit card from Meier & Frank. She never forgot Church and immediately found a church home for she and her children in SW Portland; Friendly Chapel Church, a community church. Laverne attended Friendly Chapel Church with her children regularly until she joined First AME Zion Church in 1968 under the leadership of Rev. L.J. Thomson. Her church activities included the Usher Board, Missionary Board, Treasurer for the Ministry of Kindness for almost 20 years (a role she thoroughly loved) and the Choir. Laverne looked forward to the annual Calendar Tea which was a fundraiser for the Church. She and two of her dear good friends had birthdays in July. They would decorate a table with 4th of July holiday decorations. Family and friends would be their patrons. In 1957, Laverne and Solomon Toliver met at a mutual friend’s house and they became friends. They were married in 1967. Through this union two children were born. Between the two of them they had 8 children, Gwendolyn Wilder, Larry Wilder, Belinda (Wilder) Warren, Beverly (Gail) Wilder (preceded in death), Beverly Jean Hepburn,
Debora Leopold-Hutchins (Joe), Harold Toliver, and Vickie Toliver. Laverne was a good provider and knew how to turn a little into a lot. She will be remembered by many for many different reasons. She loved her children and grandchildren and when she said something everyone knew she meant what she said. All the neighborhood kids in SW Portland knew she was stern. That didn’t stop them from gathering on her front porch every day even though she would tell them to go home every day. For her kindness, she was a good friend to many and would help them when they were in need. She loved life, loved the Lord and people around her. She enjoyed traveling, especially on cruises with her best friend Lois and her sisters. She liked attending family and class reunions down south and in other parts of the US. She loved being on the go, any time she could ride along she would be right there; she was known by family as a road dog. She had the most beautiful natural nails and loved getting manicures so she could show them off. She was so happy and proud to vote for the first black President, Barack Obama. She said she never would have thought in her lifetime a black man could be the President of the United States. She was all about Barack Obama and her children made sure she had a supply of Obama t-shirts which she loved to wear. Laverne is survived by her 6 children, Gwendolyn Wilder, Larry Wilder, Belinda (Wilder) Warren, Debora Leopold-Hutchins (Joe), Harold Toliver, Vickie Toliver (Roberto) and step daughter Beverly Jean Hepburn as well as grandchildren, Gerald Greenwood, Kenneth Warren Jr. (New York), Chenise Thomas, Sabel Wilder, Alicia Wilder, (Chicago); Aaron Wilder (Seattle), Hakeem McCallister (Seattle) Ashanti McCallister (North Carolina), John Wilder, Michael Hepburn Jr., Miyanua Kelsey and Salminio Kelsey. Great grandchildren; Zachery Green, Jordan Greenwood, Alexis Cooper, Hope Ake, Kenneth Warren III, Kelijah Warren, Deniesha Thomas, Deeshyra Thomas, Daryl Thomas II, Tyler Thomas, Aidan Wilder, Julian Wilder, Justice Wilder, Sydney Wilder, Niema Wilder, Jasmine Jordan, Kendra Haynes, La Christa Smith, Krisina Taylor, Caelin Edwards and 5 great great grandchildren. She leaves to cherish her memories; Kenneth O’Neal, nephew, Michelle Robertson great niece, Lavert Robertson (Traci), great nephew, Jataune Hall, great niece, Steve and Linda Toliver (Seattle), Marvin and Linda McKinley (Seattle), Gladys Hedgmon, niece, and Michael Heidelberg, nephew.
The family extends a heartfelt thank you for the many acts of kindness you have shown during this difficult time. To the wonderful care givers and staff at RN Villa and Firwood Gardens, Kaiser Permanente doctors, nurses and Hospice providers, a special thank you for the love and care of our loved one. We extend our gratitude for your prayers and loving support, Pastor Dennis Payne, Rev Dr Robert F. Kemp, Rev Marva Edwards, Rev Dr Joyce Smith, Phillis Whitmore and all the parishioners of First AME Zion Church.
Please join the family at the Repast after the internment services at First African Methodist Espiscopal Zion Church 4304 N Vancouver Avenue Portland, Oregon 97217