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"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Adair Funeral Home Dodge Chapel

Obituary for Audrey Rose (Viliborghi) Nations

9/30/18 Final Version
(written by husband Dale Nations; with references to we or us meaning both of them)

Audrey ( birth name was Adriana Rosa Viliborghi) was born on September 2, 1934 in San Jose, California, the daughter of Sara Mendez in the absence of her divorced father Louis Viliborghi, inheriting the name Audrey Viliborghi. She grew up in the barrio of south Phoenix, Arizona, under the care of her mother, who attended school only through 4th grade, and Grandmother Adriana Mendez who was born in Hermosillo, Mexico. As a child she attended Saint Matthews Elementary School which was near her very small, one-bedroom childhood home at 420 North 20th Avenue in west Phoenix that was purchased by savings of cash by her mother. Her bedroom was a screened-in back porch. She excelled in West Phoenix High School, particularly in popularity contests where she was repeatedly selected as Queen of several sororities and fraternities, a pattern that continued through her attendance and graduation from Phoenix College and Arizona State University. During that time, her mother married Esteban Ramos and assumed the name Sara Ramos. Esteban, who was then known as Steve (or Butch because he was previously a successful boxer) then served as her stepfather until his death in 1960. She was mentored by Sara’s sister Frances Duncker, and sister-in-law Hope Mendez, who was particularly influential on Audrey’s development as a cultured and confident young lady. Sara also had three brothers who helped in her development; Uncle Bill, Hope’s husband; Uncle Eddie, Martha’s husband; and Uncle Charlie, who was mentally impaired and never married.

Audrey attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona from 1953 to 1957, where she continued to win popularity contests, and graduated in 1957 with a teaching degree in elementary education. During that time she met her future husband, Jack Dale Nations, in the university library, and they were married on October 26, 1957 after he graduated from U.S. Air Force pilot training. Meeting Dale’s active Air Force assignments, they moved to Denver, Colorado, Ogden, Utah, and then to Newbury, England. On or about July 1st they traveled from Phoenix by train across the U.S. with a stop in Prairie Grove, Arkansas (Dale’s birthplace) where Audrey was introduced to Dale’s family consisting of Carl, Zella and family Dale Owen and Delores; Claud, Violet and family Huland and Carolyn; Effie and her husband Judson. We continued on the train through Chicago to New York City. After a short stay in New York with a brief visit to the Empire State Building and other sites. We left on an American Airlines Constellation Airliner and flew with stops in via Reikjavik, Iceland and Shannon, Ireland, to destination in Liverpool, England. From Liverpool we traveled by train to Newbury where we were met by a U.S. Airforce enlisted airman who drove us to the Boxford Bell Pub to spend the night in a room on the second floor after a late- night snack. The next day, I was checked in to my assignment at Welford Air Station by my immediate supervisor Captain George Lewis and Base Commander Lt. Colonel Lawrence Schick. Then we moved to the Hilary Hotel in Newbury (I don’t know how we got there because we hadn’t yet purchased our Volkswagen) until finding permanent housing. We rented a three-room flat in the Enbourne House (a former estate house) on Enbourne Lane in the outskirts of Newbury that was owned by Gerald and Ivy Opperman, where we lived until release from active duty in the Air Force in July, 1959. For the next 18 months, I commuted by the Volkswagen to my primary assignment as Ammunition Officer at Royal Air Force Station Welford, which was a World War II bomber base, during the Cold War with the USSR became a U.S. Air Force munitions depot for bombs and rockets, and continues to be so today. My secondary duty was a pilot at the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command Base, Greenham Common for flying duties in the C-47 Cargo aircraft flying supplies and crews of B-47 bombers who were flying constant duty carrying atomic bombs during the cold war with the USSR. This was a difficult transition for me because I had been trained to fly single engine jet fighter aircraft. My flights included destinations to Air Force bases and /or U.S. Army Posts in Germany, France, Italy and Portugal. Fortunately, during the 18 month assignment in England, I was granted a one-month leave for us to travel to continental Europe, probably because of Audrey’s pregnancy. We had purchased a 1958 Volkswagen beetle for $1188 soon after arrival in Newbury, which we used for local travel and was available for our travel across Europe. It had left hand steering because it was an export model that we would take back to the U.S. after discharge in 1959. Driving it on England’s left lane roads was a challenge that we easily overcame. While Audrey was pregnant Dale was granted a 30-day leave from duty to travel on the European continent, which we did in the VW. In order to reduce expenses, we planned to camp out on the trip. I borrowed camping gear including tent, lantern, gas stove, from the Welford base supply, and loaded it on the roof rack. We also prepared to purchase gasoline at various U.S. military facilities in Europe for 25 cents per gallon rather than about $4 per gallon on the post-war local market. This was done by carrying two ten-gallon gas cans under the bonnet (hood) of the VW. That tripled our gas capacity and gave us a range of many hundred miles (sounds dumb, huh; but we were only 24 years old). We took the ferry across the English Channel to Calais, France, then drove to Amsterdam,Holland; Brussels, Belgium (where we attended the 1958 World’s Fair while camping in the rain with cold showers). Then on to Heidelburg, Germany where we camped on the Neckar (or Rhine) River and experienced a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate ____. Then to Basel and Bern, Switzerland, across the Alps (where we named the Volkswagen Le Puff because it was carrying quite a load of camping equipment on the roof). Audrey purchased her first maternity clothing in Bern and began having “morning sickness”. After descending from the Alps into Italy, we drove to Milano (where we were cautioned about post-war resentments toward U.S. military personnel), Venice, Florence, Sienna (where we did our last camping in a vineyard overlooking the ancient city), and then to Rome where we spent several days. By this time and the remainder of the trip, I had to remove the camping gear from the roof and secure it in each of the hotel rooms that we occupied. We followed the Mediterranean coastline to Genoa (where Audrey’s father Louis Viliborghi’s family came from), across the French Riviera to Barcelona, Spain, then over the Pyrenees to France (Paris), and then back to London and Newbury, England. Upon our return we were able to travel throughout the south of England, including London, Gloustonbury, Bath, Bristol, Portsmouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford, and many other places. Our first son David was born on December 15th, 1958 at the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Burderop Park, and lived at Enbourne House, Newbury until we returned to the U.S. in July, 1959. Our return flight was on an Air Force C 54 four engine transport aircraft. The V.W. had been shipped ahead of our departure and was available to be picked up in New Jersey for our drive back to Phoenix. We removed the back seat, replaced it with a mattress, and 17 month-old David was able to lie and sleep there. On the drive across the country we stopped in Prairie Grove, Arkansas (population of about 1,000) where Dale was born on October 18, 1934, and stayed a few days with Dale’s brother Claud and sister-in-law Violet.

After Dale’s active Air Force commitment was over in July, 1959 they returned to Phoenix where Audrey taught Fourth Grade at Mountain View Elementary School while Dale began graduate study at Arizona State University to earn a Master of Science degree in Geology. Audrey also taught part time in a Spanish-English bilingual program in Scottsdale and Dale worked part time for the Salt River Project Public Information Program in Scottsdale..They then moved to Tucson, Arizona in August, 1959 where she taught Spanish and English in 7th and 8th grades at Doolen Junior High School while Dale completed the requirements for a Master’s degree in Geology. They rented a house at the corner of Mountain and Glenn streets and David attended a day care nursery. Dale taught ¼ time as a lab instructor at the University and completed an accelerated academic program of 15 hours per semester, completing course requirements in two semesters and scoring 99% on the Graduate Record Exam. He completed his master’s thesis during the summer of 1961 on the subject of the biostratigraphic dating of the Black Prince Limestone in the Benson area, which he published in the Journal of Paleontology in the following year.

After Dale’s graduation in 1961 they moved to Roswell, New Mexico where he was employed as an exploration geologist by Standard Oil Company of Texas. Audrey taught part time as a substitute teacher in Roswell schools, and son Dana was born on April 9th, 1963. In 1964 Dale resigned from Standard of Texas (because they didn’t like living in a Texas environment) and they moved to Columbia, Missouri where Dale was granted a graduate teaching assistantship by his former ASU professor Raymond Ethington, and she continued to substitute teach in Columbia schools while Dale began studying for a PhD in Geology, They moved to Oklahoma City in 1965 where Dale was employed as a geologist for the summer by Pan American Petroleum Corporation, during which time he was accepted into the PhD program and awarded a teaching assistantship at the University of California, Berkeley. They lived in U.C. student housing with sons David and Dana at 1010 Ninth Street, Albany, California. Son Derek was born at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley on October 2, 1968.
After Dale received his PhD degree at the University of California in August, 1969 they moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where he was hired as Assistant Professor of Geology at Northern Arizona University. Dale, Audrey, David, Dana, and Derek lived at 1613 N. Navajo Street in Flagstaff, when daughter Jennifer was born on May 26, 1970. They moved to 520 N. Bertrand Street, Flagstaff where they lived until Dale retired from N.A.U. in 2000. (see Dale’s experiences at NAU)

While living in Flagstaff, Audrey was very active as a faculty wife and was appointed by Governor Raul Castro to the Arizona Bicentennial Commission. She received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1985 after which she taught Spanish and English at Flagstaff High School for part of the 1985-86 year, but had to resign due to health reasons before the year was over. She then taught 7th and 8th grades at Saint Mary’s Elementary School in Flagstaff until 1988. She then taught 2nd and 4th grades at Dzil Libei Elementary School for nine years on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Cameron, Arizona, which required her to commute fifty miles each way from Flagstaff, until she retired in 1998. In addition to teaching in the classroom, she conducted an art project in which she supervised her 4th grade students in etching petroglyphs (using nails) following published examples, on small pieces of red siltstone from the nearby exposures of the Triassic Moenkopi Formation, that were sold to tourists at the Cameron Trading Post. The $35,000 proceeds from three years of sales of the petroglyphs were used to purchase books and pay expenses for field trips for the students over a period of three years. In 1998 she was awarded the President’s 1000 Points of Light award for the Navajo Rock Project. She retired from the nine years of teaching at Cameron (and commuting 50 miles each way in our 1998 Toyota Four Runner and later the 1990 Volkswagen Passat) in 1998 after receiving the President’s Points of Light Award from President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

She was able to return to Europe in June and July, 1990, with Dale, where he was a Visiting Professor of Geology at the University of Tubingen, and taught a graduate course for 5 weeks. Jennifer accompanied us, and were joined after getting settled in a flat in Tubingen, by Aunt Hope for the stay in Tubingen. After completing the teaching requirement, Dale, Audrey, Jennifer and Hope traveled in our 1990 Volkswagen Passat station wagon across much of Europe; through Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, England and Scotland. Most notable stops were Berlin where in June, 1990, Dale, Audrey and Jennifer actually drove our 1990 Volkswagen Passat into Berlin, East Germany in August, 1990 before the war finally ended and the wall was being removed. Jennifer collected a small box of broken concrete pieces from the wall, which are now in the possession of our grandchildren, Taylor, Grant, and Ryan, We left Germany and for the next two weeks drove through Berne, Freiburg, Geneva, Lyon, Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Bordeau, Paris, London (where we stayed in a Quaker bed and breakfast in Beaconsfield, a suburb of London). Nottingham, Leeds, York, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Edinborough, and a bed and breakfast in Arrochar on Lock Long on the west coast of Scotland. We left Aunt Hope in London for her return to California, shipped the Passat to the United States where we picked it up in New Jersey, after a 30+ hour flight. and drove back to Flagstaff, Our other travels while living in Flagstaff were to many neat places, including New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, etc. mostly paid for by my representation of the State of Arizona to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Many of the trips were in single-engine Cessna 182 and 206 airplanes, piloted by Dale.

In May, 2000, Audrey and Dale moved to Tucson, Arizona after he retired in 2,000 after 31 years teaching at Northern Arizona University, where they have lived to the present (October, 2018). Audrey was diagnosed with dementia due to alzheimers, and Parkinson’s disease in 2013. She continued to live at home under the care of Dale until April 16, 2017 when after two falls and hospitalizations she was transferred to Sabino Canyon Rehabilitation Facility, then to the Arizona Homestead Assisted Living facility at Mesquite House (2441 N. Placita Lydia, Tucson,AZ) on May 11, 2017 and The Ocotillo House at 5232 E. 18th Street in Tucson where she peacefully passed away in her sleep at 8:38 A.M. on September 25, 2018. The staffs of Arizona Homestead Homes and Agape Hospice and Palliative Care provided excellent and loving 24-hour care for Audrey during her residence there. They also eased the pain experienced by Audrey’s husband Dale and their family due to her progressive dementia and alzheimers illness.

Service Information

Thursday, October 25th, 2018 11:00am
Southern AZ Veterans Memorial Cemetery - Marana
15950 North Luckett Road
Marana, AZ 85653
Service Extra Info
Directions coming from I10 and Speedway Blvd: Take I10 North to Marana Road exit; at Stop Sign, turn left and go under the freeway and pass the 1st frontage road on your right, and go right at the next frontage road called "Marana Road"; quickly the road will merge into another road (go right), which is also called Marana Road --- go straight for about 3-4 miles and keep an eye out for the Blue Signs noting the cemetery. At the stop sign named "Luckett", you will turn right and go straight almost to the end of the street, where you will see the gate entrance on the right. Continue past the Administrative Building, until you see the open sided Committal Shelter. They may have folks directing traffic for parking (which will be close by).
Book of Memories
(520) 326-4343 Dodge Chapel: 1050 N. Dodge Blvd. | Tucson, AZ 85716 | Phone: (520) 326-4343
Carroon Mortuary: 1191 N. Grand Ave. | Nogales, AZ 85621 | Phone: (520) 281-2424
Avalon Chapel: 8090 N. Northern Ave. | Oro Valley, AZ 85704 | Phone: (520) 742-7901