Nurse had knack for communication
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 27, 2012 5:26PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:39AM
Up until her April 10 death at the age of 82, Vivian Trimby of Custer Park had a knack for communicating effectively with anyone, whether or not she personally knew them.
If small children were among her visitors, Vivian brought out the toys with which her own six children had once played. Neighborhood teens shared the angst they couldn’t share at home. Complete strangers sat beside her and began talking.
“She would understand, but not necessarily lecture or give advice. She was a listening magnet,” said Susan Trimby of Custer Park, one of Vivian’s daughters.
Vivian’s ability to empathize with others might have drawn her to nursing, although attaining her license required years of perseverance. She had begun nurse’s training at Silver Cross Hospital in 1948, but in January 1951, after Vivian announced her upcoming marriage, she was forbidden to complete it.
Not until the mid-1970s, once her children were grown, did Vivian obtain her practical nurse degree. She was studying to be a registered nurse when she developed breast cancer. Vivian pushed forward, despite a radical mastectomy and radiation therapy, and eventually worked at Provena St. Mary’s Hospital and Riverside Medical Center, both in Kankakee, as well as in home health.
“I don’t think anyone thought she wouldn’t do it,” Susan said. “She was always very determined.”
Vivian poured her caring energy into her children when they were young and even joined in their games. Tea parties in the outdoor playhouse, with water in the teapot and plastic cookies for treats, were especially delightful when Vivian pulled up a tot-sized chair and partook with her four daughters.
“She had a real giving spirit,” said Margaret Bungo of Custer Park, another daughter. “Whenever she did a kind thing, she preferred to do it privately. She never expected a payback. That was the example she set for us.”
At Custer Park Grade School, where her children attended, Vivian, along with the other mothers, initiated a weekly hot lunch program for its 200 students. The mothers pooled money and time to provide a hot sandwich, bag of chips and cupcake, all for a quarter.
“They cooked the meals for their own children and then paid for them to eat,” said Connie Trimby of Elgin, another daughter. “And if you didn’t have a quarter that was OK, too. I don’t think the mothers ever broke even.”
Vivian never pressured her children to be popular, to go steady or to bless her with many grandchildren, but she did exhort and encourage them to earn good grades and attend college.
They, in turn, never failed to enjoy Vivian’s company, such as the time they treated her, to special seating at Chicago Cubs baseball game for her 80th birthday.
“The people around us were getting excited about the Cubs winning,” Margaret said, “but she said, ‘It’s only the seventh inning. They can still lose. I may be a Cubs fan, but I’m a realist.’”
Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or email@example.com.