Angela Joy (Wendell) Deaver was born February 3, 1987 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Jack and Michelle Wendell of Dickens. Angela attended elementary school in Wallace, where she was known as a sweet and quiet girl who loved to read. On the farm where she grew up, her love of animals was apparent, as she was always toting around a kitten or two, but it was her pair of bottle-baby goats that really captured her heart. She was often seen traipsing across the yard, with her two goats in tow. Angie's love and talent for art was also undeniable. She could draw, paint, do string work, and sculpt. Angie starred in several children's theatre productions as well. What an adorable dodo bird, wolf, and princess she made!
Angie attended Wallace High School where she was an outstanding student, a passionate reader, and an amazing artist. Many remember her quirky sense of humor, and her thoughtfulness. She graduated from Wallace in 2005 with highest academic honors and then attended Chadron State College. On Aug 2, 2008, she married Jerry Deaver of Hayes Center and they worked in the family goat grazing business. During this time, Angie learned to train border collies, and thus began her love affair with her all-time favorite dog, Foxy. Later, Angie and Jerry switched career paths and joined Jerry's family in the custom hay business. Angie learned how to swath, rake, and bale hay like a champion. She had even started CDL training, hoping to eventually drive their big semi truck, but stopped when she discovered she was pregnant. Their son, Leo James Deaver, was born on April 28, 2013. Leo was her pride and joy, and she felt being his mother was her greatest honor and most amazing delight. Though she was already a full-time mom, she also raised chickens, milked their two cows daily, and helped drive machinery for the hay business. Life was busy and full.
Their lives took a dramatic turn that fall when Angie suddenly became paralyzed from the waist down. The cause of her paralysis couldn't be identified at the time. Angie spent months at the University of NE Medical Center in Omaha and more time at the Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, learning how to adjust to this new challenge. Jerry and Leo were her constant companions. Leo was still nursing at that time, and Angie delighted in being able to feed and snuggle him every day. She always said that Leo earned them special treatment at every hospital and facility where she was treated.
Eventually, they returned to their home near Hayes Center, and enjoyed a great summer together. Angela didn't let the paralysis slow her down much, and she enjoyed many outdoor adventures with Leo and Jerry via her special "off road wheelchair" and Razor ATV. Angie would often remark how happy she was that she still had use of her arms, so she could still mother Leo well (and that she certainly did).
An MRI in December of 2014 revealed that Angie had a cancerous tumor in her spine. After a difficult decompression surgery in Denver, she came home for a few days, before complications sent her back to Swedish Hospital in Denver for two and a half months. After enduring radiation treatments, her vision began to fade and she lost her sight. It was at that pivotal point in her journey, that she turned completely to Jesus and found Him to be faithful. In spite of her challenges, Angie continued to find things to be thankful for by leaning heavily on the power of Jesus and His amazing grace. After an additional month at Life Care of Littleton, CO, she was finally able to return to home to North Platte, in mid-April of this year.
Thrilled to be home, Angie made the most of every day. As she grew stronger, she started lifting weights and doing various exercises from her wheelchair. Leo would always join in, dancing to the music and cheering on his mama. Not even major flooding (and the necessary evacuation from their home this spring) could defeat her positive attitude. As she battled her cancer with chemo, she also continued to pursue her art and made bookmarks out of embroidery thread to give as thank you gifts. Most recently, she had taught herself to play the ukulele (via YouTube videos) and was hoping to be able to share that gift via the praise team ministry at church.
During the past two years, many people came to visit Angie so they could love and encourage her, but inevitably, people realized that THEY were the ones who had been encouraged. That is how it was with Angie. She was brave, beautiful, and courageous----an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. And though we will always miss her, her story remains a testimony to what Jesus can do with a beautifully surrendered life.
Left to mourn include her husband, Jerry, and son, Leo Deaver, of North Platte, her father Jack Wendell of Brewster, her brother Joshua (and wife Kristy) of Ogallala, her sister Heather (and husband Cody) Strawder of Wallace, in-laws Barry and Janet Deaver of North Platte, grandmother Donna Holaway of Grant, and a host of other family and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, Michelle (Holaway) Wendell.
A memorial has been established in Angela's memory for later designation. Condolences may be shared at bullocklongfuneralhome.com where the service will also be streamed live for those unable to attend.
Angela's memorial service will be Friday, Oct 30th at 10:30 CST, at Bethel Church in North Platte with Pastor Brett Terry officiating.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home of Grant is in charge of arrangements.