Vada Musser Reiff, 98, died at 12:27 p.m. on Sunday, September 20, 2009, in St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Plymouth.
Vada was born on March 10, 1911, in Nappanee, IN., to Rufus and Irene Musser. The family moved to a small dairy farm near Plymouth when Vada was a child. She and her siblings walked to West School. They later moved closer to town where she attended Washington and Webster schools. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1929. Vada went to Manchester College and earned her teaching certificate in 1931, and embarked on her long 46 year career in education. In 1940, she got her Bachelor’s degree from Manchester and in 1951, her Master’s in Education from Colorado State College.
She taught first and second grades in Goshen for six years and later in Argos and Bremen, she taught the second and third grades. In Plymouth, at Washington and Webster schools, she had Reading and English classes for the fourth and fifth grades. Her last assignment was at Washington with first graders. “My favorites,” she said. She literally taught generations of children how to read. She also served as a trainer for future teachers in her classroom.
A talented pianist, she also gave piano and organ lessons in her home. Music was always an important part of her life.
Vada was a longtime member of the Plymouth Church of the Brethren. Baptized in the Church when she was 13, she was a faithful member all of her life. As a devout Christian she was a tither. She was a generous supporter of the Heifer International Program, adding her good deeds to the countries of the World. She contributed as well to other Christian programs.
In recent years, she established a scholarship fund for elementary education students at Manchester College.
Vada met Mark Jacob Reiff when she was a young teacher. To be married as a teacher was strongly frowned upon and prohibited. Forty years later, Mark, then a widower, called her and they renewed their acquaintanceship. On June 9, 1974, Vada and Mark were married in the Church of the Brethren. They were married for 13 years. Mark died on April 14, 1986. She was a long time member and officer of the Plymouth chapter of the order of Eastern Star. She was also active in the Association of Retired Teachers, on the local and state level.
She enjoyed travel and visited many foreign countries, including an early visit to China.
She had two goals. She wanted to be a teacher and she wanted to go around the world. She did both.
Vada and her father planted the beautiful Magnolia tree that now stands in the parking lot of the Farmer’s Market. It will be a living tribute to her for years to come
Vada is survived by her sister, Myrtle Miller, Mishawaka, and a brother, Dr. Wayne Musser, Petaluma, California. She had numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation to celebrate the life of Vada Musser Reiff will be from 10 – 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2009, at the Plymouth Church of the Brethren, 1130 N. Michigan St., Plymouth.
Funeral services for Vada will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, in the Church, with the Rev. Ruth Yoder officiating.
Burial will be in New Oakhill Cemetery.
Memorial gifts in Vada’s name may be made to the Plymouth Church of the Brethren or to the donor’s favorite charity.