June Carolyn (Winter) Vaira passed away gracefully from this life on June 30, 2020, 4 days after her 92nd birthday. Her son, Dale, was holding her hand when she slipped away. June had been surrounded by her loving family continuously during the last week of her life, a wonderful gift of time allowed by Sutter Roseville Hospital.
June was born June 26, 1928, on the Winter family dairy farm (now Winterport farm) in the Ione Valley. Before she started school, June, along with her older sister Doris and their parents (Ellard and Esther Winter), moved "to town" into a home built by June's great-uncle John Winter on Preston Ave. in Ione.
June learned the value of hard work at a young age. As a child during the depression, June worked in her father's grocery store on the corner of Main and Church Streets in Ione, stocking the shelves, and giving samples of fresh produce-specifically she recalled to her family how much she loved cutting plugs of watermelon for shoppers to taste and her delight in driving her father's van, during her teen-age years, to deliver groceries to Ione families.
Growing up, she loved all kinds of animals; especially her two horses, Ginger and her foal Rocky, which June cared for in the pasture behind their home (now the location of the Ione Plaza Market). June and her childhood girlfriend, Pat Watt, rode their horses everywhere. June often told of their favorite ride-as young as age 10, the girls would pack their lunches in the early morning, ride their horses to Plymouth, eat their picnic lunches, and then ride back to Ione. June attended Ione Elementary School and Ione High School graduating in the spring of 1946. While in high school, June held several class leadership roles including class president as a freshman and again as a senior all while acting in plays, cheerleading, and playing tennis.
On New Year's Eve 1946, magic happened at a dance in Sutter Creek. June, an 18 year old college freshman, met the man who would become the love of her life, Francis (Fran) Vaira, a 22 year old Marine (of Drytown), just back from service in the Pacific. They dated while they both attended San Jose State College. June was a member of the Delta Chi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gama Fraternity and earned a BA in Home Economics as well as a teaching credential. After graduation, they married in June's childhood church, the Ione Community United Methodist Church, on August 12, 1950.
After settling in Jackson, June devoted her energy to her three children.
She assisted with the Cub Scouts and Campfire Girls and helped in various committees with the PTA. All the while June continued to work as a substitute teacher to develop her own career, though she always prioritized the needs of her family. With three young children in tow, June regularly cheered-on the Jackson High Tigers at the many sporting events coached by her husband, Fran. In 1968, June began teaching kindergarten full time at Plymouth Elementary School. For 20 years as a classroom teacher, she strove to provide every child with a positive start in school. June is remembered fondly by her students and has kept in touch with a lot of the mothers.
June was acknowledged by many as a wonderful cook. She provided her family with freshly prepared hot meals every day. She and Fran enjoyed hosting their friends and bridge groups for delicious meals in their home and on their shaded patio, at their mountain cabin, at BBQ picnics on their Ione cattle ranch, as well as family gatherings.
After her children left for college, June devoted herself to researching the Winter family genealogy and history. Working with other knowledgeable family members, she assembled a detailed family tree on 3x5 cards, now known as the "Red Book" which includes hundreds of descendants of the original family that settled in the Ione Valley in 1867, after emigrating from Germany. On several occasions, June teamed-up with her Winter cousins to organize reunions at the Ione Community United Methodist Church.
June felt joy in fulfilling the needs of others throughout her life. She prepared meals for families with a new baby, or faced with a death in the family, or an elderly person living alone. She always gave generously of her time. For many years, June participated in the American Cancer Society event to prepare hundreds of box lunches. June enjoyed working many hours on the annual rummage sale for the Jackson United Methodist Church and in retirement took turns with others to clean the church on Saturdays. In her later years, she enjoyed working side-by-side with Fran on their cattle ranch. June always made time to attend her grandchildren's birthday parties and sporting events in Sacramento.
June's only indulgence was her passion for gardening (she called it "yard work"). Her beautiful yard was filled with colorful flowers year-round. She particularly treasured her rose garden, a tribute to her father who had also cultivated a vibrant rose garden.
June is preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Francis Vaira. She will be forever remembered by her beloved children Dale, wife Darlene, Jim, and Karen, husband Steve Gallant, her two cherished grandchildren Sarah and Adam and Karen's step-daughter, Nelia Gustafson, husband Erik, and their sons, Patrick and Thomas. As the family matriarch, June leaves behind many favorite nieces and nephews.
The family of June Vaira would like to express appreciation for the loving care June received at Argonaut Care Home in Jackson, at Sweet Home of Rocklin, as well as Sutter Amador Hospital, Sutter Roseville Hospital, and Sutter Care At Home Home Health. The family would also like to thank each of you who brought joy to June's days by visiting, sending cards and well wishes during her last few years of life. Your prayers and thoughts have been greatly appreciated.
Friends are invited to attend the Visitation on Monday, July 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Daneri Mortuary, 415 Broadway, Jackson. Out of respect for the health of others during the COVID-19 situation, the family requests that you wear a mask and practice social distancing. The funeral service and interment at the Keystone Mausoleum, Sunset View Cemetery will be private.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to either: Amador STARS, PO Box 208, Jackson, CA 95642; or the Francis and June Vaira Scholarship through the Jackson Lions Club Scholarship Fund, PO Box 64, Jackson, CA 95642. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.danerimortuary.com and signing the guest book.