May 3, 1935 ~ April 19, 2021
Vertis Yvonne Goings (nee Benton) of Livingston, Louisiana on 19 April 2021, went to be with the Lord, whom she loved and served. Devoted wife of Elton Goings; mother of Regina Gale (William “Chip”) Nadler and Traci Lynn (James) Gorny Ph.D.; loving grandmother of Katherine (“Katie”), Scott (predeceased) and Leakatya; great-grandmother to Hayden, Evy and Sarah; sister of James, Robert, Otha “Red”, Marvin Benton and Ray (Steve Windham), predeceased by Charles, Julius and Edna (Buck Dedon); also survived by nieces and nephews; and beloved friends Edie Durand, Myrtis Oliver, Angie Horn, Minnie Watts, Erma Gates and Joyce Stewart. First and foremost, Vertis was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt and friend with unswerving devotion and dedication to assisting close and distant family members and friends in their time of need or comfort.
Vertis had humble beginnings in tough times, born premature in the midst of the great depression on her parents (David Elmer Benton and Lenoranee Watts) farmstead in Livingston, Louisiana on 3 May 1935. Her loving,warm, welcoming smile was the first thing one noticed about Vertis. She will be remembered as having lived an extraordinarily, generous and fulfilling life, full of curiosity; living her Christian values in service to her family, neighbors and everyone she encountered.
Her strong sense of social justice played out in both her professional and personal life; working for the State of Louisiana as a nutrition and health counsellor to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children. With the help of her long-time church community (Red Oak Baptist Church), her family sponsored on their farmstead re-settlement of two refugee families from Southeast Asia in the late 1970’s. This unselfish commitment to the welfare of others provided a new beginning for these two grateful families who remained lifelong friends. Whenever, she or her husband (Elton) encountered persons in need of a helping hand, they were there to lend a hand up to get people on their feet again. Their generous encounters with strangers, often in disregard to their own safety, are too numerous to count.
Having a deep love for God’s bounty in nature, Vertis put her faith into action as an environmental activist in the 1980’s fighting to keep the environment and neighbors safe from the dangers of a local hazardous waste facility. As an avid gardener she collected plants and plant cuttings from wherever her far flung travels took her; planting them around her home to see them often flourish in the rich Louisiana dark bottom land soils. Gardening for her was not just a joyful hobby to cultivate beautiful plants and flowers but a means to help nourish and spread her love to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances. She lovedspending time in her often very large vegetable gardens with her butter beans, green beans, tomatoes, green onions, turnips, peppers and squash; but she loved even more preserving these treasures and giving them to others. But don’t be fooled by Vertis’ healthy, almost vegetarian diet, as she loved sweets particularly banana pudding, lemon icebox pie, coconut cake and homemade biscuits for which she was chef beyond compare. She passed this love of sweets on to her children and grandchildren.
Vertis was a well-read, voracious reader and collector of books of all types. She loved understanding world cultures and history, particularly her own family history. Brought to her by books, she was curious about the world and was an avid traveler, never saying no to any opportunity to travel, seeing most of the 50 United States. Internationally, she experienced the people and places of England, Ireland, Australia, Poland, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. But first and foremost was her love of the wild natural beauty of Alaska where family lived. She made numerous trips to Alaska to visit family with her beloved husband Elton driving the Alaska highway all the way from their Louisiana home with travel trailer in tow. She simply was in her element with family, wildlife watching and in awe of nature’s bounty.