Elva Jetta (Sween) Whiting passed away at her home after a brief non-COVID illness on October 8, 2020 in San Jose, California. Elva was born February 2, 1931 in Seattle, Washington to Severin and Mary (Turner) Sween. She and her little brother Dick were raised on their grandfather Edgar Turner’s homestead at Turner’s Corner in Snohomish County, Washington, and went through the Bothell school system. She graduated high school in 1949 and went on to graduate from Washington State College in 1953 with a BS in Foods and Nutrition. Her first job after graduating was doing food research at Michigan State College/University for 2½ years. She then moved to California where she again worked in food research at the University of California in Davis for 1 year. She met Everett Houston Whiting at a Farm Bureau Young People’s picnic and three months later on November 16, 1957, they were married in Davis. They lived in Dixon, California, at the Whiting family ranch east of Dixon for a few years. They then moved into a new home that Elva designed and her father built, on nearby Levee Road. Here they raised their two daughters and son. Everett was in the sheep business and then became a real estate broker in 1965, retiring in 1996. They moved to San Jose in 2019 to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Elva was a wonderful wife and mother, making sure to curate a supportive and happy childhood for her kids. From the early ‘60s into the ‘90s she was an integral part of the Dixon 4-H clubs and a dedicated 4-H leader when their three children were in 4-H. During those years she also worked a few months per year in the livestock office at the annual Dixon May Fair. She was an avid genealogist throughout her entire adult life and had amassed a treasure trove of family documents and photos. After Everett retired, they were able to travel to Norway, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, England, Italy, Iceland, Canada, Mexico, and many US states from Alaska to Florida, Hawaii to Maine. A majority of their trips were planned around visiting living relatives, but also included courthouses and cemeteries so Elva could do genealogy research. Most of all she loved being surrounded by her family; she was the glue for her family and a wonderful role model for them (and countless others). Their Dixon ranch served as a home base for her large extended family. The annual Easter gatherings at their ranch and camping trips to the Mendocino coast became Whiting family traditions.
Elva is survived by her three children Doreen O’Donovan (Kevin) of Aptos, CA, Kate Sandusky (Preston) of Aptos, CA, and Kent Whiting (Janice) of Campbell, CA; grandchildren Caryn, Jeffrey, Taylor, Morgan, Sydney, and Jamie; great grandchildren Jackson, Charlie, and Kye; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband Everett Houston Whiting and brother Richard Severin Sween. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be sent to Solano County 4-H Leaders Council, In Memory of Elva and Everett Whiting, 501 Texas Street, 1st Floor, Fairfield, CA 94533.
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