This woman’s fingerprints are all over my childhood–camping trips, summers, riding on the center console to the hair dresser’s house. She was at every school play, graduation, hoe down, and choir performance. Less so as I grew up, got married, and moved 45ish minutes away, but it was an honor to write a small overview of her life. My only regret is that I didn’t learn about her life and write about it sooner. I know Christmas in heaven this year is going to be beautiful. And I can’t wait to see the garden you’re working on.
My Grandma, Naomi Lois Voyles, was born on January 27th, 1936 in Aromas, California to Lester Lee Freeman and Winnie Allen. She was the youngest of seven siblings. Though she was named “Naomi” she went by her middle name, “Lois.”
Sophomore year of high school Grandma was voted the most popular. She graduated from high school in 1953, though we’re not exactly sure from where.
Last night my sister, cousins, mom, aunt, and I began to look through Grandma’s jewelry. We found a class ring. It’s from Groveton High School in Texas. Grandma’s initials are on the ring and a google search found us the name of the high school and a match on the mascot.
That same year Grandma met the man who would become her husband, Robert Voyles, at the Delhi church of Christ, where her dad preached.
The way Gramps tells the story, he was in the front row and Grandma was in the back and he couldn’t see her, but he didn’t think that the preacher would like him turning around in the middle of the class to see who she was.
Grandma and Grandpa were married the following year on April 2nd, 1954 and moved to Turlock, California. They have three sons: Jimmy (Jim), Ricky (Rick), and Bradley (Brad).
The family of five moved out of the Whispering Pines Trailer Park on Auburn-Folsom Road further into the foothills of Northern California. They settled on a 5-acre plot of land on Creekside Drive in Shingle Springs and lived in the trailer while they built the house that stands there today. Grandma and Grandpa would spend the majority of their lives here. This home would see many family gatherings, weddings, church events, and volleyball games, but in 1963 it was just the five of them in a 50-foot long by 8-foot wide trailer.
In 1984, Grandpa and Grandma rented out the house in Shingle Springs and moved down to Salinas because of a job Gramps got with the state prison system. After a work accident Grandpa was involved in, they moved back up to Shingle Springs just a few years later.
Grandma worked at the Mountain Democrat, a local paper in El Dorado County, in the early 60s. In the 70s, she worked with Grandpa at his plumbing store on Durock Road in Shingle Springs called Bob’s Plumbing. She also worked in the Ponderosa High School cafeteria.
In December of 1988, this side of Bend, Oregon, on their way to see family for Christmas, Grandpa and Grandma were involved in a serious car accident that altered the course of Grandma’s life. She suffered a severe brain-stem injury. After five months of recovery and physical therapy Grandma began to regain her strength and health back. The encouragement of my younger sister Kady being born just a few years later really helped her overcome these difficulties. She walked for the next 12 years and was very involved in the lives of her grandchildren.
Grandma was a faithful Christian and church-goer her whole life. She was also well known for her love of flowers and gardening, decorating for Christmas, her love of reading, and watching HGTV.
And Grandma never let her physical limitations hold her back. One example of this: for their 50th wedding anniversary, my parents and aunts and uncles gifted her and Gramps a cruise to Alaska. Grandma thoroughly enjoyed the trip, despite the fact that she was spending more time in a wheelchair.
In addition to her husband and sons, Grandma is survived by her seven grandchildren: Greg Voyles, Rebecca Voyles, Sheena Lund, Kierstyn Voyles, Tracy Erler, Kady Norwood, and Colton Voyles; her six great-grandchildren: Cooper and Lexi Lund, Serenity Roth, Asalie Norwood, Aveline Roth, and Oaklie Dale Lund; her sisters Grace Underwood and Ruth Martin; and her brothers WR and John Freemen.
Grandpa was her steadfast and faithful caregiver and partner as Grandma’s physical and mental health declined over the last several years. He was right by her side on the afternoon of June 26th, 2018, holding her hand and singing “I’ll Fly Away” as she went home to Heaven surrounded by family and close friends at Marshall Hospital in Placerville, California.
Grandpa would like donations to be sent to Health Talent International in lieu of flowers. You can make donations in Grandma’s name at their website: http://healthtalents.org/index.php or mail one in to: P.O. Box 8303, Searcy AR 72145.
Thank to the nurses at Marshal Hospital who loved on a big, noisy family in Grandma’s last days here on earth.
Grandma’s obituary is also posted on El Dorado Funeral Home & Cremation Services’s website, if you’d like to leave a memory or thought, you can do so here.
Love you Grandma. See you soon ❤