July 15, 2020 — Nola Fran Xavier (Carter), born March 2, 1938, passed away June 28, 2020.
Nola was born in Miami, Ariz., to Newell and Frances Carter. As a young child she contracted polio and consequently spent prolonged periods of time in hospitals for treatments and surgeries which eventually allowed her to sit-up, stand and eventually walk “normally.”
Her mother and father gave their all to her and she loved them dearly. She developed a lifelong passion for knitting, crochet, sewing and arts and crafts during the all-too-short summers at her grandmother Whitehead’s house.
After learning to drive, she quickly discovered that from behind the wheel of a car there were no physical limitations; the family would like to formally apologize to anyone who has been a passenger in her car.
At age 16, Nola entered BYU on a scholarship but found that it wasn’t the right fit for her and returned home to California to continue her studies.
She met Joe Xavier at UCLA in 1964 and they were married before the end of the year in a small chapel on campus surrounded by family and friends. He was the love of her life and she knew it right away.
Nola and Joe were married 55 years and sealed in the LDS Temple. Their early married life was spent in Santa Barbara, Calif., raising their two young daughters, Marie and Julie. In 1978, their small family moved to Seattle, Wash., where Joe and Nola lived and worked until retirement in 1997.
At retirement, they found their coastal Shangri-La in Florence, Ore. Throughout her life Nola dedicated much of her time and energy to charitable causes finding purpose in the service to others through Welcome Wagon, Newcomers, PTA, CALM, Rotary, the LDS church, and City Council.
She served as Mayor of Florence, Ore., from 2012-2014, and dutifully contributed in many ways to her small town. Never one to brag, she worked hard to build relationships and get the job done in city government.
She loved her church calling as Beehive Leader teaching young women. Florence LDS young women, you were a bright ray of sunshine in our mother’s life.
In early 2015, Nola suffered a major stroke. Her life was saved by the interventional radiology team at River Bend Hospital and forever changed. We reintroduced ourselves to her as family members when she awoke from surgery, scared and her mind a blank — although strangely, she did remember her iPhone passcode.
Tenacious as ever, through intensive rehab she relearned reading, writing, math, talking and walking (again).
In 2016, Nola and Joe moved to Portland, Ore., to live a few doors down from their eldest daughter, Marie, and her wife, Bonnie, in a home the girls had made completely accessible for them.
Joe and Nola were able to be quite independent in their new home. On warm summer days, Nola could be found driving her motorized chair down the street to go visit Marie and Bonnie. She continued to do everything she possibly could for herself and Joe, until she just couldn’t.
She never gave up.
Nola and Joe spent Christmas 2019 in rehab together — her with a broken ankle and him with an incurable malady of age related problems. But they were together and that is all that truly mattered to them.
Joe passed away Jan. 13, 2020; Nola passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
She is survived by her daughters, Eva Marie Xavier (Bonnie Jeffs) and Julie Fran Martin (Niels); her grandchildren: Zachary Martin, Madison Owen (Mark), Katie Cooper (Barrett) and Tanner Martin; and a brother, Cole Carter; her brother Shane “Rocky” Cater is deceased.
In lieu of flowers, cards and donations, may we each take inspiration from mom to volunteer our time and energy to make our communities a better place.
Burns’s Riverside Chapel Florence Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.