Smith Funeral Home Ltd. & Crematory

Elvira “Vera” Near, age 76, passed away on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 after a courageous battle with cancer. Vera was born on December 12, 1937 to John and Ida (Barnhart) Hysell in Newell, South Dakota. She received her early education in South Dakota before moving west to Washington as a child. She married Malcolm Near in 1954. The couple made their home in California until 1963 when they bought a cherry orchard off of Swan Road in Sunnyside, WA. In 1966 they moved their family to Granger where they acquired more orchards on Cherry Hill in the Lower Yakima Valley. They farmed together for many years until Malcolm’s passing in 1995. In 1997 she and Jim Wertenberger began a special relationship; the two cherished every moment they spent together.

Vera enjoyed playing Nintendo video games, bingo and any kind of card or board games. She loved and cherished the moments she could spend with her family, they were truly all the love of her life.

Vera is survived by her husband Jim Wertenberger of Granger, WA, her sons Dale R. (Debbie) Near and Terry W. Near, both of Granger, WA, and her daughter Cheryl L. Gilson (Mick Hasson) of Granger, WA, her granddaughters Ashley N. Mackie and Amber L. Mackie, grandson Fernando Torres-Near, and great grandchildren Nicholas Torres and Sinyah Torres. She is also survived by her sisters Carol Cooley, Arlene Haseth, JoAnn Lande, Ayvonne Simon and Nola Salmonson.

She is preceded in death by her husband Malcolm W. Near, her son Steven M. Near, her grandson Robert J. Near and her brothers Glenn Hysell, Virgil Hysell and sisters Verlis Mitzell and Bessie Smith.

A Memorial Service “Potluck Dinner” will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:00 PM at The Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Toppenish, WA, 515 South Division Street, Toppenish, WA 98948. Those wishing to sign Vera’s online memorial book may do so at Smith Funeral Homes Ltd in Sunnyside, WA in charge of arrangements.